Assistive Music Technology

From London Hackspace Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Assistive Music Technology Hackday at Furtherfield, Sunday April 21st

On Sunday 21st April Drake Music will run a hackday to create and share new instruments that break down disabling barriers to music making. Run in partnership with Furtherfield and Music Hackspace, makers will have the opportunity to work towards one of two prizes for the most innovative work. To register for the hack day or to ask any questions please email me gawainhewitt at or twitter @DrakeMusicRandD

Hackday Brief

To create new switch devices.

To register as a participant please email gawainhewitt at

Drake Music often uses switches to trigger sounds. These generally interface using a 1/8” or ¼” jack and can be plugged in to Soundbeam or a Crick Box to name a few. We also use iPad apps and sometimes Makey Makey.

This will be a 5 hour hack event where you are invited to bring your hacking and making expertise and come and collaborate in the creation of new devices and interfaces that use touch or switches to trigger sounds. Haptic feedback is something that would be interesting, as would wireless devices and devices that allow for some amount of musical expression.

Devices will be judged on innovation, musicality and affordability, with a £100 prize for the winning entry. Pizza and fizzy drinks will be supplied.

Some ideas that have occurred to our staff and musicians have been as follows:

  • I think being able to cycle through a range of sounds or samples is very useful.
  • Also, it’s great to have zero latency between press and hearing sound.
  • Wireless/switches/velocity sensitive
  • Quick response when triggering switch repeatedly
  • Can use at least 8 switches
  • Cross platform, compatible with software we use.
  • Have choice to use as key commands (like crick) or midi (all in one)
  • Small/compact
  • Affordability off the shelf
  • That it has the capacity to interpret expression rather than just on/off messages

This brief is open for people interested in both software and electronics. We will supply a couple of arduinos, a makey makey an iPac and a selection of accessible switches for use on the day.

Open Hack Brief

To create new movement to sound devices

If you are not able to attend the event on the day (or if you are and fancy an extra challenge!) – then we have a second brief which you can work on in your own time. Entries that are complete before the hackday can be presented at the event at 3pm.

Drake Music has made extensive use of movement to sound devices in its work, particularly the Soundbeam. This brief is simply to create new devices that convert movement to sound and/or midi/information that other daw’s, modules and software’s can use.

This is an open creative brief. However you may want to think about what makes your creation better and/or new.

Some ideas that have occurred to our staff and musicians have been as follows:

  • I think the gesture used has to have an intuitive result from the sound; e.g. you can hit a snare drum in a multitude of ways and produce a variety of sounds and dynamics.
  • Affordability/off the shelf
  • Easy to programme/minimal setting up
  • Small/compact
  • Easy to position/mount
  • 3D
  • That it sounds good
  • That it can be played expressively (dynamics etc.)
  • That the sound genuinely expresses the nature of the movement – a ‘symbiotic’ relationship
  • That it’s not assumed the movement will be made using the hands
  • That it’s possible to make no sound without having to withdraw from the motion-sensing field – a bit like stopping the bow on a cello string without lifting it up.
  • Ideally that it has an option to be polyphonic – played with multiple movements simultaneously
  • This brief is open to start work on immediately and you are invited to make and build in your own time using the facilities already available to you. We will meet at Furtherfield on Sunday 21st April at 3pm to review the entries and discuss them, document them etc…

The OHMI-Ars Electronica Prize

OHMI have launched a prize in partnership with Ars Electronica for the development of a musical instrument that can be played with one hand.

Entrants to the One-Handed Musical Instrument Competition are challenged to develop a musical instrument that can be played (i) without the use of one hand and arm and (ii) that is capable of emulating a traditional orchestral instrument.

The challenge should not be underestimated. It is a very tall order to replicate the subtlety and complexity of an orchestral wind or string instrument. Of necessity, there will be a combination of delicate and subtle physical actions perhaps involving electronic, programmable hardware and complex software. We are planning that the winning instrument(s) may give public performances in Linz with the Bruckner Orchestra and in Britain with a UK orchestra (discussions are in progress). We hope that the UK performance may be broadcast nationally.

To submit an entry to the competition, go to and complete the initial registration form. Thereafter, your entry can be edited and altered until you choose to click "finalize". The next winners will be announced at the 2013 Ars Electronica Festival, for which the submission cut-off date is June 30th 2013. However, on the entry form you can elect any year for your entry and in either the "Concept" or the "Playable" categories (see below).