Starting Building

A project log for Vectr - 3D Gesture Controller and Sequencer

Vectr is an open source 3D sensing controller and sequencer for modular synthesizers or anything you can dream up.

mattMatt 08/18/2014 at 17:010 Comments

I have gotten a number of circuit boards manufactured and have started assembling the units to deliver to the Kickstarter backers. It has taken many months to gather all the components and many more months before that to design all of them. Now, I just need to go through the steps of building and shipping about 50 devices. The final steps are programming the boards, assembling the units with screws and nuts and such, testing each device, and shipping them out.

This weekend I worked on programming the boards. There are two circuit boards in the device. Each board requires programming. The 3D sensor board requires parameterization which normalizes the sensing space and defines values for a number of parameters which affect the user interaction. The parameterization is a single file that just needs to be programmed. It's not unique to each board. As far as I know, Vectr is one of the first devices in the world to use this IC, so I'm mostly on my own as far as the required processes and the best methods, but this seems to be a reasonable process. The image below shows what this programming looks like. One of the development kits comes with a USB to MGC3130 device that handles the firmware upgrade. You can see it plugged into the sensor board. The LEDs light up on their own as they're not being driven, but it's nice to see that they work. You can also see that this is a thick board. I found that extra thickness benefited the sensing.

The microcontroller needs firmware as well. Vectr uses a PIC32 microcontroller, so this process is straightforward. 

Next, I'll be assembling units. Maybe I'll even get some help with that.