Rock Out With Toilet Paper Rolls

Singing in the shower is such a common phenomenon, rarely anyone ever bats an eye about it. Singing in the toilet on the other hand is probably going to raise an eyebrow or two, and it’s not for nothing that the Germans euphemistically call it “stilles Örtchen”, i.e. the little silent place. But who are we to judge what you do in the privacy of your home? So if you ever felt a lack of instrumental accompaniment, or forgot to bring your guitar, [Max Björverud] has just the perfect installation for you. (Video, embedded below.)

Inspired by the way bicycle computers determine your speed, [Max] took a set of toilet paper holders, extended each roll holding part with a 3D-printed attachment housing a magnet, and installed a Hall-effect sensor to determine the rolling activity. The rolls’ sensor data is then collected with an Arduino Mega and passed on to a Raspberry Pi Zero running Pure Data, creating the actual sounds. The sensor setup is briefly shown in another video.

Before you grab your pitchforks, [Max] started this project a little while back already, long before toilet paper became an object of abysmal desire. Being an artist in the field of interactive media, this also isn’t his first project of this kind, and you can find some more of his work on his website. So why of all things did we pick this one? Well, what can we say, we definitely have a weakness for strange and unusual musical instruments. And maybe there’s potential for some collaboration here?

16 thoughts on “Rock Out With Toilet Paper Rolls

  1. I like the idea of using hall effect sensors as inputs for musical instruments. In the class I teach in system fundamentals, inevitably a student decides to build an instrument just every other semester. They’ve used ultrasonic sensors to make fake theremins, light occlusion to sense the length of a tube to make a fake trombone and this idea fits right in. The toilet paper is a nice, timely touch. It might make more sense to just roll the roll rather than pull the paper, but I like it. Nice hack.

  2. Clearly these roll holders are not for “under” types, per the original TP patent. Ominous orchestral strings for the time we are in. In the East going is refereed to as “I have to go sing a little tune”, so as to not be surprised in your private spot even if it’s behind a tree.

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