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  • When you think of machines, what comes to mind? Do you imagine large construction machines that can dig voluminous holes through mountains, pave public streets, remove tree stumps, and demolish buildings? What about agriculture machines that can pull a tree out of the ground, harvest a grove of oranges in an hour, and plant a field full of wheat? But machines aren’t only made for functional means; machines can also be used to make beautiful music. Player pianos and other automata have played songs for crowds for hundreds of years. The Marble Machine, created by the Swedish band Wintergatan in 2014, uses steel marbles to play a vibraphone, bass guitar, cymbal, emulated kick drum, high hat and snare drum, and their videos have received over 59 million views! In Machines That Make Music, you’ll create machines that strum your Stratocaster better than Jimi Hendrix, keep a beat better than Greg Landfair, Jr., and play new kinds of songs that investigate pitch, rhythm, dynamics, timbre and texture using servos, motors, linear actuators and more.

    In Machines That Make Music, students will work with a musician and a roboticist to research musical instruments and state of the art machines to create innovative musical machines. Using the combined power of digital design (computer aided drafting, 3D modeling) and rapid prototyping tools (laser cutters and 3D printers), students will concept, design, and build these high-tech music machines full-scale. We’ll be using Formlabs’ Form 2 printer to print high strength 3D printed parts for the machines. In addition, students will be learning about music theory and machine theory. Bring your musical fuel, we’re going to be jamming!


    Focus Skills/Subjects/Technologies:

       Industrial Design

         Interaction Design

       Digital Fabrication (Laser-cutting, 3d Printing)



       Robotics (Arduino)


       3d Modeling


    • Enrolling students must be between the ages of 11 to 13 (or grades 6-8)


  • Creators: Christopher Kitchen, Maya Paul

    We were tasked with creating an object that distorts or creates noise using an interaction you already have with the object. Our project is a martini shaker that you can use to distort noise. You open it record a sound then close and shake it. When you open it again, the same sound plays back in a distorted manner. Depending on how you shake the martini shaker affects different aspects of the distortion. We wanted to make the movements correlate with the changes in sound in a really easy and straight forward way.

    We originally had the idea to use a water bottle but decided that you don't usually shake a water bottle and there isn't a clear narrative. Then we thought of using pants pockets, using some to record and some to play back, We were unsure what aspect of the pants would affect the distortion so we moved on from the idea. Then we started thinking about objects from your kitchen, originally thinking about a blender that "mixes" two sounds together. We eventually choose a drink shaker because it was similar to out original idea but had a clear narrative. 

    We made our project using Arduino and Max MSP. Max is a visual coding software that you can use to create and distort sound. We used a plugin for Max called Helm which changed settings depending on input values from the Arduino. We used two sensors, a distance sensor, and an accelerometer. We used the distance sensor to recognize when the shaker was open or closed and used the accelerometer to recognize how you were moving the shaker. Each axis of movement affected a different aspect of Helm.

    Sound Shaker is a fun and interesting way to interact with and distort noise. 

  • Creators: Lizzie BeerIsabella Julian, Jasper Sims

    Merkaba is a 3d printed exotic looking bracelet that worked as a musical prosthetic.  The bracelet itself has sharp points sticking out on one side and extends down the bracelet, unevenly. The bracelet has an arduino attached to the bracelet for the final presentation, and multiple wires connecting the bracelet to the patch on a users arm.  The wires are soldered and placed in the correct holes of the arduino to send the data to the sensors. Each bracelet has two touch sensors, which play two different sounds according to the instrument each player is assigned.

    In our team Isabella had the vocal bracelet - one of the sensors on the vocal bracelet manipulates the volume of her recorded singing , while the second sensor manipulates one of her coaches beat-boxing recordings. Jasper had the melody bracelet- both sensors on the bracelet are piano based sounds and has the manipulations of the volume. Lizzie had the beat bracelet- both sensors on the bracelet plays two different beats and has the manipulations of the volume as well the other two bracelets.

  • Creators: Noor AnsariIlan Barnoon

    The Noodle Jungle is a large mobile exhibit structure consisting of a series of noodles hanging from it. It was created to make an immersive and relaxing experience for the participants. The noodles create a fun and enjoyable experience for participants changing and distorting sound. Our project creates and immersive experience using surgical tubing and sound. Five pieces of surgical tubing are attached to ultrasonic sensors so that, when the surgical tubing is pulled and twisted, it distorts the sound it is connected to. We wanted to create an exhibit that is themed around a rainforest or jungle, with the noodles mimicking the vines of a real rainforest. Our final project is a large mobile with each noodle hanging from it. It can be stood under and the noodles can be pulled and contorted from inside. Fake vines are place on the outer rim of the mobile to create an immersive and closed off feeling and add to the jungle theme. The Noodle Jungle creates a calming and entertaining exhibit that anyone of any age can enjoy.

  • Creators: Sam Ingersoll, Kate Reed

    The Body Accordion brings together two concepts: music and movement. The Body Accordion is designed to emulate the behavior of an accordion, being flexible and allowing circular movement yet fitted to the body like a corset. The Body Accordion is made of laser-cut plywood “ribs” that attach to a harness designed of recycled leather. 3D printed hinges secure the plywood ribs to the harness and allow the ribs to move and yet be stable at the same time.

    We redesigned the Body Accordion to be a piece in NuVu's "Nature-Tech Collection" for the 2013 Emerging Trends Show during Boston Fashion Week. The corset didn't need to have versatile movement for fashion, so we went much farther with the design, more in the direction of a cage skirt. The structure has three belts in which everything connects - one at the top, one at the waist and one just below the butt. We also experimented with making the original ribs much bigger and more dramatic.






Summer 2018 Future Worlds (Ages 11-13)