Kitsch-Instrument Pulls a Sonata out of your Dishware

Remember those childhood memories of your grandmother telling you to stop hammering away at her pots and pans? Odds are pretty good that the last time you struck a beat with her dishware, you had a few more years to go before you understood tempo and rhythm. Now that we’re a bit older, [Jiffer Harriman] invites us to return to our kitchen armed not only with those childhood memories, but also a with the Kitsch-Instrument: a suite of solenoids, a controller, and a software pipeline to algorithmically turn your kitchen into a giant percussion instrument.

The Kitsch-Instrument is a modular music system that enables the user to pull a percussive pattern out of his or her everyday kitchen utensils. The percussion hits come from a series of mosfet-driven solenoids that can be fixed onto plates, cups, and other everyday items through a variety of clips. These solenoids are collectively driven by two stacked custom Arduino shields that are, in turn, driven either by hand with a button-interface, or algorithmically with a pattern generated by the graphical programming language, Pure Data.

In designing this project, [Jiffer] and his team intended to bring not just a musical tool to young tinkerers. They also aimed to help educate these young minds with multiple entry points into their project. For top-level users, adding buttons is almost as easy as plug-in-and-play. For experienced circuit designers and tinkerers, the entire project is open source with the board layout and software available for download. Overall the project can be explored from lower and lower levels while still retaining its functionality as a musical interface.

If you suspect that this project seems to have that same whimsical sense as the Auto-Meter-Reader Feeder, you’d be right! [Jiffer] and [Zack] hail from the same lab at the University of Colorado. We’re excited to see what upcoming beats will arise from a truly off-the-shelf symphony.

via the [Tangible Embedded and Embodied Conference]

5 thoughts on “Kitsch-Instrument Pulls a Sonata out of your Dishware

  1. It’s very clever, but I think it would drive parents bonkers.

    Reminds me of a time I spent in retail (good ole Radio Shack) where we sold a great many noisy devices for the youngns’, things likely to be brought back the day after xmas… Remember the firefighter hat with the rotating light and the siren? Almost 100% return rate.

    Eventually I came up with the acronym “CCPPTD”, wich stands for “Cheerful, Colorful, Plastic Parental Torture Device”. Call this one a “CCCPTD”, or “Cheerful, Colorful, Computerized Parental Torture Device”.

  2. My mom kept potatoes and onions in one bottom drawer, and old pots and pans in another, so that when my sister’s kids were toddlers, they could sit on the floor in the kitchen and play with safe child-appropriate toys, and not dent up the pans she cared about.

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