Laser Drum Mic Gate
Problem: Since there are many drums in a kit, common practice is to use many mics to capture the sound. Unfortunately, he mics end up capturing multiple clones of a single drum hit and other nearby instruments with a different delays on each channel. When the different channels are then mixed together, the delayed clones mix with the primary channel and smear out the sound of the drum in time, which reduces the sharpness of the attack and can create comb filtering. Normally, to combat bleed, audio engineers run mics though a gate to turn them off when the noise level falls below a certain level. This causes issues because the other surrounding noise (from other drums and instruments) causes the gate to falsely open.
Solution: What if the audio engineer could quickly clip an accessory to the drum without adjusting any knobs and still have the confidence that his gate would activate correctly every hit? We decided that triggering (turning on) the microphone based on the physical movement of the drum head was much more accurate and simpler alternative to carefully setting a bandpass of a gate. With our invention the audio engineer could buy these inexpensive drum accessories and side-chain them straight into their existing software or gates to instantly improve their sound and accuracy.What I Learned: I did the mechanical and industrial design for the housing. I also designed the optics of the laser focus system. The trigger shines a laser off the drum head and the reflected oscillations across a diode translate in to an audio signal that can be side chained into a gate. The technical challenges of this project were fairly straightforward, but I learned much more about presentation and design storytelling to convince stakeholders to push forward with the idea's future development.