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More About the The PAudiotron Project


Here is a rough chronology of the PAudiotron project:

  • Sept 2012: Come up with the concept of the Hidden House Haunter (HHH) applied to Burning Man port-a-potties. The idea was to make the audio experience completely hidden (in the vent) and mysterious, with audio coming up from the toilet hole.
  • Oct 2012: Prototyping of HHH revealed that the audio would not emanate from the toilet hole, but would instead come straight through the vent. Also, triggering of the audio based on changes in lighting detected from the toilet hole proved too difficult.
  • Nov 2012: Hit on the play-on-words, PAudiotron, which triggered renewed enthusiasm for the project. Decided that simple motion activation and obvious unit visibility would be OK. Researched and sourced suitable PAudiotron V1 unit direct from Chinese factory. Ordered 4 sample units.
  • Dec 2012: Worked on "doesn't suck" guidelines and criteria to overcome the problem of avoiding obnoxious audio in a very enclosed space. Tested sample PAudiotron units in port-a-potties to determine:
    • best placement (over left shoulder to trigger on entry and exit, but not all the time)
    • motion detection sensitivity (partially covered sensors)
    • volume levels (no more that 25% dynamic range, and less for "dense" sound, for V1 units)
    • audio quality settings (VBR 30-60 kbps are suitable for Burning Man port-a-potties, and maximize limit V1 unit memory)
    • waterproofing (vinyl glove over PAudiotron)
    • removal resistance (they make nuts that are hard to remove without a special socket)
  • Jan 2013: Sample content development (scripts and final tracks)
  • Feb 2013: Website, signage, logo, and project management guideline prototyping and development
  • Mar 2013: Deployed 4 test units at BEquinox, the LA regional equinox camping trip/burn in Joshua Tree. Generally positive feedback. Bad Idea Theater loved the concept, given that the PAudiotron is sort of the bad idea concept applied to port-a-potties. Made major discoveries about the effect of sunlight on the motion sensors and how to properly secure the units.
  • Apr 4 2013: Included all currently finished tracks in Tracks section. Added 22 tracks, most of which follow Orgasmatron track in the Track table. Added section to show unproduced scripts.
  • Apr 9 2013: Published an announcement for the PAudiotron to the Burning Man EPlaya bulletin board. Submitted an art installation application to Burning Man in order to secure some early entry passes. The senior staff guy at Burning Man who is in charge of the port-a-potties had no issue with the PAudiotron.
  • Apr 15 2013: Submitted order for 110 PAudiotron units from factory in China.
  • Apr 28 2013: Accumulated 43 minutes of produced audio content.
  • May 2013: Received and tested the units.
  • May 2013: Recruiting volunteers.
  • Jun 2013: Received attachment hardware.
  • Jun 2013: Listed events with PlayaEvents.
  • Aug 2013: Modded units, updated logo, logoed lab coats.
  • Aug 2013: Team PAudiotron did a killer job of showing up and installing units. Yay Team PAudiotron!
  • Sep 2013: Go here for an "after burn" summary of this project at Burning Man 2013.

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