photo from Make magazine, Peter Bennett
Featured in Make and Synthopia magazines, this interactive musical instrument created by Peter Bennet of Queens University, Belfast, has been dubbed 'steampunk' by some. At the very least, it is a clever invention!
Technically, this is called a tangible rhythm sequencer. The BeatBearing houses eight columns of metal washers set in four rows. One 'programs' the sounds by placing metal ball bearings in any desired pattern into the holes ringed by the washers. To quote Bennet, from his YouTube video page, "Ball bearings are used to trigger (Roland TR-808) drum sounds. Visual feedback is provided from a CRT display underneath to indicate the current time and the state of each beat."
Here is a video of the BeatBearing in action.
For more information, see the BeatBearing home page. If you would like to fashion your own tangible rhythm sequencer, Make magazine online has step-by-step instructions for you to use and links to download the necessary codes.