Sound Harvesting

Sound R&D

We have been experimenting with ways of collecting and exploring interesting sounds. One of the first attempts at tackling this activity idea was to dust off our collection of piezo microphones, and try out a number of different ways of capturing captivating sounds from everyday or unexpected objects.


Scratch Paper Sound Experiments

Over the past couple of weeks, Nicole and I have been preparing for a workshop for the upcoming Scratch Conference at MIT Media Lab around programming paper circuits. We started to experiment with these ideas a few months ago when we hosted a BAME meetup for a half-baked smorgasbord of programming provocations.


LEGO Robot Orchestra

Over the past couple of weeks, we've been trying some initial prototypes of LEGO linkages in the Tinkering Studio workshop. We built on our previous robot arm experiments in the learning studio, but as we continued to prepare the activity to be tested on the museum floor, we shifted the focus more toward sound making and music as a prompt for exploration.


Tinkering Social Club: Making Musical Instruments with Modesto

Explore the nature of sound by creating a handmade instrument! What exactly is sound? How do we get from a simple vibration to the complex and beautiful sounds that emanate from musical instruments? Together we will break down sound into its constituent components. Then we’ll build it back up using simple materials until we get something that . . . sounds kinda nice!


Experimenting with Paper Speakers

One of the demos that the high school explainers are currently developing on the floor involves making homemade speakers out of a a small cup, copper wire and a magnet. Last week, Chas wanted to find out if we could make a speaker using the copper tape and paper that we have been experimenting with for Jie's paper circuit activity.


"prepared piano" sound

Just came across this interview with Hauschka - a German artist which I love. He plays "prepared" piano — a piano that has been modified by hardware additions. For a typical piece, he makes more than 20 adjustments to the innards of a grand piano using duct tape, felt, cellophane, bottle caps, wedges, aluminum foil, sheets of paper. I was reminded of our Metal Music and The Sound of Marbles.


The Sound of Marbles

While we have figured out a set of materials that work well for marble machines on the floor, there are all other types of ways that the activity can be taken to different levels. At times, we've added motors, pico crickets, switches, LEDs and other elements for those not satisfied with simply making their marble travel as slowly as possible.


Marble Melodies

Ryoko experiments with marble-activated chimes.


Subscribe to sound