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.


Lyft Gives Free Rides To Those Who Have Had Too Much To Drink

Syndicated Yesterday

Banned Books Week Urges People To Seek Out Controversial Works

Joining the annual celebration of the right to read, US author Jessica Herthel called for 'more information, more voices' to protect diversity

Augmented & Virtual Reality Yesterday

Outdoor Camp Presented In 360° VR By X Games Gold Medalist

The video features campers riding BMX trails, zip lining through the woods, and performing big-air jumps


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants Passengers To Control Their In-Flight Experience Through Their Phones

The airline manufacturer is embracing automation through a new generation of mobile travel apps

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

VR Surgery Videos Offer Interactive Medical Education

Dutch startup MDLinking hopes to globalize communication between students and medical care professionals with virtual reality content

Culture Yesterday

Use Twitter To Learn A New Language

tDict is an app that uses the social media platform to help you search for words in local dialects

Mobile Yesterday

This Startup Wants To Digitize The Loose Coins In Your Pocket

CoinOut is a new app that lets you save your extra change from cash transactions as electronic funds

Advertising Yesterday

McDonald’s Is Accepting Trash As Currency In Exchange For Burgers

An initiative in Stockholm is trying to keep streets clean while satisfying hunger


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Creative Agency Founder: Using VR As A Race Relationship Tool

Maurice Bernstein, CEO and Founder of Giant Step, explores the value in transforming headsets from high-tech entertainment tools into empathy machines

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Culture Yesterday

Google Is Using Virtual Paper Airplanes To Bring People Closer Together

The tech giant released an app that lets people throw their good wishes out into the world on the International Day of Peace

Advertising Yesterday

Get Paid For Traveling In San Francisco After Rush Hour

BART Perks rewards commuters who take early or late trains by giving them extra points to trade for money

Culture Yesterday

Artist Designs Covers For Books That Don’t Exist

Published by the fictional 'Specious Books,' the subversive works facilitate a conversation regarding the artistic integrity of graphic designers

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Food Yesterday

Bringing Food Innovation To America’s Crowded Milk Market

a2 Milk's Blake Waltrip, Chief Executive of the USA region, discusses how the distributor plans on bringing the popular drink for the dairy-sensitive to the States


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Financial Services Yesterday

Device Makes Digital Currency Feel Tangible

The concept gadget wants you to experience the highs and lows of spending money

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

NBC Is Planning To Stream The Presidential Debates In Virtual Reality

Partnering with AltspaceVR, the broadcaster offers another way for Americans to engage with the election season

No search results found.