We are From Dust Speaker

In 2021 I was commissioned to design and install a speaker in the Garden of Ashton Court mansion in Bristol UK, it plays “We are from dust”, an amazing poem by historian and performer Dr Edson Burton @eburton70.

Here is the speaker installed and working. To hear the rest of the poem, you will need to visit the gardens of Ashton Court.

I designed and made this 3D printed waterproof speaker, it senses people walking past and plays the poem to them. I used it as a great opportunity for me to keep my Industrial Design skills up to date.

The internal technology is; a PIR sensor, Adafruit Feather 328 running a simple Arduino sketch, a DFrobot DFplayer Mini handles the SD card, MP3 decoding and has an amplifier driving the speaker. Power comes in on the USB, so it can be reprogrammed without taking it off the wall.

For sustainability it’s designed to have a very low energy consumption, even when it is playing and it is set to sleep 99% of time.

The shell was designed in Solidworks, and went through 4 iterations, it was 3D printed in PETG, hand sanded, and spray painted in a cardboard box in my back garden, I had been planning a funky graphic, but for this installation realised that low key would be better for avoiding vandalism or theft.

It is done, for now, working and installed. “Done is better than perfect.” If I were to do another interaction, I would like to rework the outer form to be more appealing, and add a more funky graphic.

With big thanks to @katcjdesu for making it happen!