The fascination for cartography drove me here, as well as the beauty of mengqi designs. this is the first attempt to make my own version of his magnet matrix. I find the idea of using magnets as patch pins for a magnet design really fascinating as it reminds me of a metaphor of an instrument as a game board.
This one is a completely passive circuit. The only components involved are summing resistors, which they are quite low value (4k9) , so it can be used as a touch interface too.
HOW IT WORKs?
The idea is really simple, some of the circuit traces are exposed on the front panel: the outer circle is the input trace, while the inner one is the output. When a conductive metallic element is placed over those pads it creates a connection between the two, allowing the input signal to flow into the output. Being this a passive design it means that can be used on both directions, and doesn’t offer any kind of protection in terms of signals flowing in the opposite direction.
The drawing on the side is taken from Harold Fisk, an incredible american cartographer who took care of drawing and studying the changes of the Mississippi river flows during the years, creating those beautiful and complex over layered drawings. I liked the idea of associating the idea of rivers and changes in path to an instrument like a signal router. It was this for me the first chance to try and start to experiment with use of pcbs layers in a purely aesthetic way.
The case is CNC machined wood, rubbed in danish oil, giving a really nice translucent finish.
meng qi - https://www.mengqimusic.com/magnet-matrix
harold fisk - http://www.radicalcartography.net/index.html?fisk