Introducing my self I'm totally blind and looking for people to help me with a hardware Project

Hello everybody hope you’re doing well and staying safe. I’m Trey from south Wales UK. I’m a totally blind electronic musician with mild cerebral palsy my SoundCloud link is below:

I have no coding or DIY electronics ability. One of the most significant challenges I face is being able to play electronic music live in a live streaming or gig context. I’ve had an idea for a project which is a digital hardware sampler that would have an affect section filter an envelope for sample manipulation also Anne LFO for sample modulation and a sequencer section. It would also have Louping capabilities. The interface would be tactile and would be able to be used by a blind user in the live environment. I wouldn’t rule out having accessible text to speech menus or making the device simpler than the feature list I have listed here. To my mind the problem with text to speech menus is that a user would struggle to hear them in the live environment. Just to clarify by the live environment I mean regular gigs when things get back to normal but also live streaming in these pandemic times. Is this a device that could be built with axo hardware what is it more complex than I imagine? I am looking for somebody to help me with this project even though the project would be open source ideally. Though I’m currently exploring funding streams to to pay people to help me with the project as I think it’s only fair.
Is there anybody here that would be interested in helping me with this project I’d love to know everyone’s thoughts on this.
Thank you for taking the time to read this very long post and I look forward to talking with you all :slight_smile:


Whooooaaahhh this is an awesome project! User interface is totally my jam and I’m reading a paper about a programming language for blind children right now!

For a musical instrument, my first idea is to use servos to give feedback that you can use to feel both change and stare at a touch.

I can’t commit to doing the project until I understand it better — and I’m no engineer, just an artist. But I’m super excited about this and can see it going really good directions!

Hi soundwarrior20,

I think it is generally possible. I am hesitant to promise anything in terms of time investment as I do not have much myself, but I can write code and have programmed a groovebox-type of sample-player patch for the Axoloti board before (particularly for the Akai APC Mini USB controller).

I think the easiest approach would indeed be to make a system where menu navigation and knob-twisting triggers a short speech sample, ideally only audible on a separate monitor mix (i.e. there would be a separate output mix for the audience).
However, the Akso and the Axoloti boards only have two audio outputs in total, so the output for the audience would have to be mono for that reason in this scenario.

I experienced a limitation with the Akso: I connected a DIN-Midi board (as it does not have one built-in) but could not get it to work, so it cannot connect or sync via Midi clock as of now, that is unless your USB-controller has a DIN socket built-in and forwards the data.
I think it would otherwise be possible for it to receive an analog audio-clock but I haven’t tried that myself.

An Axoloti-board with a DIY AxoCtrl-board would be my choice for the moment for a quick turnaround, it gives you 9 rotary controls and four buttons, but only has 8 MB of RAM instead of 32MB as the Akso has. An additional USB-controller can give you additional controls of course (I like using an APC mini for myself).

Would the focus be sampling live on the spot or would you also want a sophisticated way of storing and browsing samples?

I overlooked the Sequencer bit. The Axoloti has limited SRAM memory, I believe it is 64k in total and due to this I was not able to implement all the features that I wanted for my sequencer as the code size was increasing, so that is a bit of a general impediment on that particular board.

Do you already posess one of the boards?
Be prepared to wait for the availability or delivery regarding both boards. From my experience obtaining the Axoloti was the quicker out of the two, it ships from Belgium whereas the Akso is shipped from the US.

Since expressed concerns about the text-to-speech approach, what alternatives could there be for navigation?

I actually think a text-to-speech system would be also useful for non-blind people because most midi-controllers don’t have a display and when there are modes or menus, it is difficult to comprehend what a knob does in the given context. I might write such code in the near future for myself anyway, I would make it available for everybody as an Axoloti-object for re-use. I figured that the samples do not take too much space when using 8bit, 8khz mono for the format (about 10 kb per sample).

Hi everyone thank you for your replies. The interface would be a mixture of tactile controls and shifted button presses the panel may have different modes which would be accessed by dedicated buttons from the replies to this thread it sounds like both options would not be technically powerful enough for what I want to do. If you have any more thoughts it would be wicked to hear them :slight_smile:

I think the way to do this is probably by doing all sound work with the Akso and all interface being done through MIDI. That way you just just use an Arduino Pro Micro with multiplexers to represent your IO and don’t have to worry about running out of Akso pins.