Generate CV from plants with the Scion biometric feedback module
Instruó have announced a new Eurorack module designed to extract control voltage from plants and other biometric material. It’s called Scion and was first revealed at Modular Meets in Leeds a few weeks ago. They’ve just released a video from the Meet that gives us all the details.
How exactly do you get biometric feedback from plants? Well, the organic material is acting as a variable resistor or capacitor. Using probes from a Tens machine the module is able to pick up electrical currents across an organic surface such as petals, leaves, skin, fruit etc. The technology is based upon a device called the MIDI Sprout from Data Garden, an open source project of using biometric feedback to generate or modulate MIDI data. Scíon brings that idea directly to CV and into your Eurorack.
The Scíon itself is essentially is a 4 channel random voltage generator with a built in quantizer. It’s the randomness that’s influenced by the biometric feedback. You can patch the outputs to oscillators for some random tunes or use the voltages to control whatever you like. There’s a slider in the middle that alters the density of the generation and the quantization on the notes, bringing them closer to chromatic the higher you go.
There’s a lot of harmonic cleverness going on in here, like with what we saw in the forthcoming Harmonaig. There are various modes which focus on introducing overtones and building chordal structures. They haven’t published the full details yet but from the video (below) you can get a feel for the creative possibilities in the module itself. Almost to the point where the fact it’s plugged into a plant becomes the least interesting feature.
The leaf-like LED display is simply gorgeous and reflects the intensity of the note generation. The whole concept is beautifully implemented and anything which encourages plant life into the studio has got to be a good thing. The Scíon will cost £280 and will be available for preorder very soon.
More information should arrive on the Intrusó website.