I hope these guys win the 555 contest for making this punch-tape synthesiser. I’ve always though about making something like this during my PhD as it’s a great example of the tangible manipulation of music.

A music player like this definitely wouldn’t be out of place in A Clockwork Orange burbling away like a portable Wendy Carlos Moog rig.

[spotted on the Make Blog]
[video: YouTube – 555 Contest Entry – Synthanola]

Ferromagnetic Input Device (with ball bearings!)

An interesting project from Microsoft Research that uses an array of magnetic sensors to allow the detection of “any ferrous object placed on or near its surface”. The BeatBearing is referenced (in the paper below) as a possible future application, which would allow the sensing of object above the surface, and other properties such as rotation of the ball bearings. Both of these features would open up a whole lot of new possibilities!

Paper link: A Reconfigurable Ferromagnetic Input Device – Microsoft Research

Video link: YouTube