New Technologies Transforms Everyday Objects Into Music Makers

New Technologies Transforms Everyday Objects Into Music Makers

Programmable interfaces can turn everyday objects into musical instruments.

  • 11 august 2013

Look around you. What do you see? If you’re reading this on a mobile device, perhaps you’re on your couch, surrounded by soft comfortable things. If you’re at a desk, then there’s probably a lot of flat surfaces around. Normal inanimate objects, right? Well what if they could be musical instruments, or computer interfaces? New technologies are allowing consumers and brands to unlock the hidden acoustics of inanimate objects by functionally connecting them to apps and other digital systems. From gelatin that plays notes to an app that turns bananas into cymbals, read on below for awesome ways to transform the world around you into a music box.


A children’s iPad app called Color Band lets users designate real-world objects and then play them like musical instruments. Using the iPad’s camera as a motion sensor, the app detects when ad-hoc musicians touch certain areas within the camera’s field of view that have been tagged with a certain sound. The user determines which areas play what sound, so any object or surface could become an orchestral control panel. See the app in action in the video below.

Beyond a single banana, imagine how fun a desk filled with objects programmed as different instruments would be to play around with. Children could assign sounds to their collection of stuff animals and toys, potentially introducing the basics of music theory and composition into playtime. The app has over 80 different sounds and sound effects to apply, so there is a lot of space for creativity; in theory, 80 users could set up different objects that would each play their own sound when touched.


Two things you are normally not supposed to play with, food and electricity – but placed in the hands of the a mad genius, these odd bedfellows can make some interesting musical combinations. Designer Raphaël Pluvinage created a playset that has the ‘gamer’ create gelatin in different shapes and colors that they place on a computer-connected game board. When these jellies are touched, they emit different sounds based on their shape and color.

To find out more about how you can ‘program’ the world around you as musical instruments, continue reading here on iQ by Intel.

With the help of iQ by Intel, is exploring how technology impacts our lives. iQ by Intel connects readers to the trends and discussions that are moving our planet forward. To read more inspiring stories about how technology is unleashing the world’s human potential to create a better future visit iQ by Intel.


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