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Open content project with Tomi Hyyppä
Berlin / 2014

The Cyberbeetle project was done as a part of the Coding da Vinci open culture hackathon organized in Berlin during April-July 2014. The project combines in a playful way openly licensed biology related pictures and sounds from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and Botanischer Garten & Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem.

The Cyberbeetle is based on a gorgeous Chalcosoma atlas beetle species represented in the insect box scans of the Museum für Naturkunde. Being little bit of a geek, the Cyberbeetle has his own hi-tech insect box with special features. When the box is turned on its side, small doors are revealed. Opening the doors unveils a home theater with a hi-definition flat screen, audio system and infrared communication. The horn of the Cyberbeetle contains an infrared receiver, which enables him to react immediately when the TV program starts. He likes music videos in particular. The Cyberbeetle is usually a rather grumpy creature that crawls slowly and murmurs along the way, but as soon as the TV is switched on, he becomes very cheerful and dances little bit.

In order to provide the Cyberbeetle with a satisfying media experience, me and my brother Tomi made him an entertaining music video. While I animated insect and plant pictures cut out from archival images, Tomi made a song using animal sounds from the Tierstimmenarchiv. Although not immediately evident, all the sounds in the song are made from animal sound samples except for the kick drum.

The Cyberbeetle was awarded the “Funniest hack” prize at the hackathon award ceremony.

Further project materials:

Cyberbeetle’s song

Arduino codes (zip file)

Hi-res image of the Atlas beetle

Special thanks to Niklas Roy for helping with the project. Many thanks also to the Coding da Vinci hackathon organizers, cultural institutions that released content, and other hakathon participants.