David Azar

New York

Engineer & Creative Technologist

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Orientation Instrument

An electronic device that converts your wrist movement into immersive sound
Tags: Hardware, Music, Design

About the project

Orientation Instrument (TKA) is a device that fits in the palm of your hand and allows you to create rich and expressive music with nothing more than your wrist movements.

Tools

Arduino (MKR1010)

MIDI

Ableton Live

Orientation IMU Sensor

Haptic Drivers

Lots of Electronic Components

Music is defined by the interface we use to create it. For example, something composed for piano sounds the way it does because of the physical constraints of a mechanical instrument like it – the same applies to every other instrument.

 

Based on this principle, I created a musical instrument that leverages the MIDI protocol to make rich and expressive sounds with the movement of the performer's wrist. By simply holding this cube in your hand and pressing a touch surface, you can create music without even thinking about it. 

How does it work?

This instrument works by reading its orientation in space hundreds of times per second and running an algorithm that maps it to a corresponding note to be played. Volume is controlled by variating the force with which the play touch-button is pressed. Pitch is controlled by orientation in the X axis, tremolo in the Y axis and the cutoff frequency in the Z axis.

The real-time data is processed by a microprocessor on board and is sent to Ableton Live, where some effects are added to make this unique sound. To give the performer tangible feedback, any time the they rotates the instrument into a new note in space, a firm physical vibration is produced to inform them about the position in this invisible sound space. This looks to solve the problem of not knowing the note that is being played.

Orientation Instrument is extremely captivating and fun to play.