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  • What if it were possible to engage in the secret communication of animals? Listen to the trees or play in tune with insects? The natural world around us is always humming, stirring and moving in a sensory soundscape that we normally miss in our daily activities. Technological advancements in bionic devices, prosthetics, and electronic sensory input and actuation have allowed artist and scientist alike to explore decoding the sounds from nature to enhance our understanding and connection to their world. McGill University researchers Joseph Malloch and Ian Hattwick created 3D-printed prosthetic digital instruments which transform movement into music. Kate Reed, a NuVu alum and college student at the Brown/RISD joint program created two projects, one that uses the body as an accordion and a second that uses body prostheses as a way of investigating emotional states. Imagine that you can turn your body into a harp, changing pitch as you move, or use conductive fabric to create a drum machine on your pants. In this studio, students will explore the relationship between music and movement with augmented body extensions. We will compose echos, release vibrations and translate natural forces into musical tones throughout our body.

    Students will develop their skills in digital design (computer aided drafting, 3D modeling), rapid prototyping tools (laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC milling), micro electronics (Arduino), music engineering and body attachment techniques to create wearable devices that bring us into harmony with nature.


    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)


  • 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 aswell the other two bracelets.

  • We created a corset that acts like an accordion. The corset has two belts, one at the waist and one above the bust. In between these two belts are eight arms. The arms are an organic rib-like shape that is laser cut out of plywood. Each arm is made of two pieces, which are connected together using a screw and a lock nut. We had to use lock nuts because normal nuts would fall off with the amount of usage of the arms. The arms connect to a 3D printed hinge that connects to the belt. The hinge allows the arms to move and be stable to the belt at the same time.

    There are two flex sensors on the corset, one in the front and one on the side. They are positioned at the bottom of the arms and sense when you are bending forward or sideways. The flex sensors give a number based on how bent they are. That number gets sent to the computer and into a program called Max MSP. We programmed Max to change the pitch based on how bent the flex sensor is.





Summer 2019