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Student Design Competition Winner Interview - Matthew Cheshire

 1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?

My name is Matthew. Im originally from a quiet little village in Hertfordshire UK. Upon finishing school I studied Music Technology at a local college before moving to Birmingham UK to study Sound Engineering and Production at Birmingham City University. Since Graduating I’ve stayed at the uni to work on a PhD in the Digital Media Technology (DMT) lab. 
2) What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start?
My Dad had a really big record collection and I would always listen to his vinyls from the 60’s and 70’s at a young age, around this time I started recording weird sounds and noises on a budget cassette recorder and then progressed to the DAW in my teens. 
3) Tell us about production of your submission? What is the story behind it? How long did you work on it? Was it your first entry? What kind of problem can it solve or improve?
My submission was born out of necessity, I needed a way to accurately and repeatedly strike a drum, in a way that would remove human variation, this was for use in a microphone comparison study that I was writing for the AES. I decided to build a Robotic Drum Arm (RDA) to produce more accurate data for my study. The RDA was controlled by MIDI messages from the DAW via an Arduino UNO, The development and testing methodology of the RDA become the main focus for my Student Design Competition submission. This was my first entry in to the competition, the total project took a few months to develop as there was a lot of trial and error involved. 
4) Did you consider commercializing your project? Are there any business or product possibilities?
The project was very much in the prototype stage and was developed to address one very specific problem, for this to be developed into a commercial product a lot more work would be needed and improvements made to it, at this time I do not intend to commercialize it.
5) Do you know or consider any future steps? Will it be linked with the project you’ve presented?
One of the biggest limitations of the RDA, was that that it could only strike the drum at one velocity level this was appropriate for what I needed it for at the time, but developing it future I would like to have programable velocity variation that would be mappable to 127 MIDI values. 
6) Tell us about your favorite experiences at the 147th AES convention in New York!
Being at the 147th AES convention was a great experiences, I was able to share and discuss my work with other like minded people, whilst at the same time learning so much from all the informative talks and presentation that were taking place throughout the week. The highlight for me was being one of the winnings of the Saul Walker student design competition.

Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2020

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