I've been thinking about the ways I could set up the program to record from the tea cups, and after some discussion with my tutor have decided to use a small mixing console to mix the four signals from each cup before they enter the computer. This negates the need for a '4 in 4 out' sound card but does mean that only one cup can be used to record at any one time. The light sensor in each cup will dictate which buffer the sound is recorded into.
This is my first attempt at the making something like what might be required. I need to find a way to have the light sensors trigger a change in the signal path so that the right cups match the right buffers, which will be important in the playback stage...
I've decided to have a go at 'hacking' a games controller and rewiring it to see if I can get reasonable results without the need for an Arduino or something similar. I think that because I have a good amount of time left with this project, and several lecturers who do this sort of 'hacking' it would be worth while having a go.
Also, I may have a venue for the project when its finished. The Bath Teahouse Emprorium have said they might put it on for a while, which would be a great way/place for it to be marked!