Tactile Symphony

The Music Toys, developed by Tod Machover at the MIT Media Lab, are very simple-looking toys that are in fact sophisticated instruments to be played by any person (in particular kids). No skill required.

Beatbugs (picture left) are percussive instruments that you hold in one hand and tap with the other to create rhythmic patterns. Their antennae can be bent to transform the pitch and timbre of the rhythm.

They are connected to each other so that the rhythm can travel from one to another to form larger scale compositions.

bugbu.jpgshaper[1].jpgMusic Shapers (on the right) are soft balls that produce notes when they are squeezed, they come with capacitive sensing and conductive embroidery to measure the squeezing gesture. The effect is that of “conducting” musical phrases and forms in a very tactile, visceral and enjoyable way.

HyperScore (can be downloaded for free from the Toy Symphony website) is a computer interface that lets children draw and paint, and then turns the drawing and painting into musical compositions.