Magnetic Musical Training

There are two projects currently under development at MIT’s Hyperinstruments group testing Magnetic Musical Training. The systems provide the user with ‘a kinesthetic preview’, to help them learn the gestures required to play the musical instrument. The project aims to find out whether motor functions can be learnt at a faster and more efficient rate using this system compared to traditional methods.

Graham Grindlay’s project called FielDrum uses a drum fitted with electromagnets and permanent magnets which control the pushing and pulling forces of a drumstick. Currently the system only has two states (attract or repel) although they are hoping to introduce more. Check the simple video demonstration of the FielDrum in action.

Craig Lewiston’s Trainer Technology project has two streams of development, the Trainer Piano and the Trainer Prototype, both using magnets to control the movement of the user. The Trainer Piano uses an upright piano together with a computer screen which displays visual feedback. The Trainer Prototype uses a gloove with magnets in to control finger movements. I’m looking forward to reading the results of the tests.

Swept RF Tagging

The Swept RF Tagging device developed by Kai-yuh Hsiao, ‘detects proximity of magnetically resonant tagged objects in field’. The system has been optimised to function as a musical instrument. The following video shows John Zorn using the system in April 2004.