Human Powered Electric Instruments


[Noah] tipped us off to his work with Physically Engaged Electronic Instruments. He is building instruments, that while being electronic, require physical action to drive them. In the video after the break, you can see an example, in the form of a polka. The part that they’re holding (print head?) is attached to a generator which powers the instrument. The effect makes the instrument much more like a traditional stringed instrument that must be strummed. We can easily also imagine an interface similar to a concertina or accordion being functional. There are schematics available on his site in the research reports section, but you’ll have to dig through a pdf or two to find them. We would love to see a breakdown of the instruments and their components in a more accessible form.


21 thoughts on “Human Powered Electric Instruments

  1. There’s a big poke in the eye for all those post-apocalyptic stories where we all fall down and whine about all we have lost. I say bring on the bombs! Some of us will have grand new avenues of expression and We will be in demand far and wide. Kudos! (Oh you GOTTA know I’m kidding). Don’t You?

  2. @36Chambers

    the unfortunate reality is that the physically superior and irrationally aggressive will thrive in the short run and dash the changes of the intellectually superior in the long run.

    The only way to truly survive would be both physically and mentally superior to most.

  3. Awesome. Two years ago, Noah was showing me a schematic for a pedal he’d been working on, and then added that what he was *really* excited about was this stuff. He mentioned the possibility of a harmonica that is breath-powered, but I’m guessing that turned out to not generate enough power…

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