If You Meet the Buddha Machine on the Road, Hack It


14 Responses to “If You Meet the Buddha Machine on the Road, Hack It”

  1. randyman says:

    I happen to dabble in a little guqin myself… here are some photos, and a recording from when my qin arrived several years ago.

    I am lucky enough to have a Chinese import shop right in my neighborhood, and I asked the owner to try and find a quality qin for me during one of his visits to China. He delivered in spades.



  2. univac says:

    Check out my circuit bent chanting Buddha Box I did a few years ago.
    It was received from a friend who got it from a Buddhist Temple in LA. They give them to you if you ask.
    It now is much more versatile.
    Chanter: http://techdweeb.com/Chanter.html
    I also have one of the 2nd gen FM3 ones waiting to be improved.

    (Hi Marc)

  3. Peter Vukmirovic Stevens says:

    I wrote a duet for Buddha Machine and piano this year. It was debuted in Seattle, Washington in June 2010.

    I have excerpts of loops 4,5 and 6 of audio and scores at: http://www.societyofcomposers.org/user/peterv.stevens.html

    I have full scores available if anyone wants to perform these.

    It’s a great little machine.


  4. Marc Weidenbaum says:

    Wanted to make sure that folks knew that @mandopop is in fact Christiaan Virant, half of the FM3 duo who develop the Buddha Machines.

    And @univac: Thanks for sharing that. Man, been a long time since we’ve been in touch. Great to see your name pop up in here.

  5. Marc Weidenbaum says:

    @randyman @vukmirovic — Thanks for sharing those sounds. I’ll check them out promptly.


  6. penguinchris says:

    RE the Muji reference – these are very reminiscent of Muji products, and perhaps a little cheaper looking. I understand using exaggeration to make your point that they’re breathlessly simple in design, but you really can’t say something like Muji is Prada by comparison – that’s way beyond a little exaggeration!

    When I walked into the Muji store in Bangkok (it’s located in Central at Chidlom BTS) I felt like I “died and went to heaven” so to speak – the minimalism was overwhelmingly awesome. I had to restrain myself from buying everything there (I got a few small things).

    I know I’m off topic but I really found that comparison disingenuous. These are not more minimalist than Muji products :)

  7. mandopop says:

    Regarding Marc’s wish for a 4G buddha with upload capability… not likely in the Buddha Machine series, but am currently onworking a new device which might possibly allow user loops. its a different form factor than the buddha, but still a hand-held, self-contained music playback unit. in a retro-vibe… also, have been working for at least 3 years on a solar-powered buddha, but thwarted by high cost and low power output of smaller solar panels. recently solved the power problem however, so next gen buddha likely sun powered.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Believe it or not, these devices weren’t designed for circuit bending. They’re hacked versions of these: http://www.dealextreme.com/products.dx/category.1005~search.buddha

    If you want to save some $20 and have a lot of fun making electronic things do things they’re not supposed to, buy an unmodified one and start crossing wires.

  9. pidg says:

    Whenever I’ve seen buddha machines I’ve always wanted one where I could record my own loops.

    Then I realised I really didn’t need it, because my Yamaha pocket field recorder can already do that, among many other things, in a much nicer package :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    These things have been around a lot longer than 2005. I picked one up in china town in SF in 1998

  11. Trent Hawkins says:

    I dare someone to record this on to it and put it on an infinite loop at a public park:

  12. univac says:

    Nice to see you writing for BB Marc! Always interesting stuff.

    And mandopop, perhaps a collaboration is in order? You build, I bend.

  13. haineux says:

    I first got a “buddha box” at The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, in Ukiah, California. The City has a website here: http://www.cttbusa.org/ (And to answer the obvious questions: Yes, they have many more than 10,000 buddha statues/paintings in the main meditation hall alone, and Yes, you can usually visit, but call ahead to make sure there will be someone who speaks English to help you out.)

    Anyway, I went there because I heard of the name of the place, and happened to be in Ukiah on other business, and after walking around, paying respects, listening to some of a recorded lecture in the main hall, and eventually going to the gift shop, they offered me a buddha box. It plays one audio loop, continuously, whenever you switch it on. The circuitry inside the box is a lump-of-black-epoxy IC chip, and a handful of analog components. The loop it plays is very similar to this one http://www.angelfire.com/mt/mondotaiwan/Buddha.html

    Those of you who are interested can look up “Pure Land Buddhism” to find out why these buddhists are so into chanting. You don’t have to believe their stories to get benefits from the machine — yes, it’s intentionally relaxing and calming, and no, it’s not supposed to be hypnotic.

  14. CircuitBen says:

    It’s nice that so many people got to see my kitchen, cheers. :)

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