Interactive teething rings, YouTube, and traditional Japanese instruments don’t normally appear together, but here we go. Last week, we saw documentation on a system for hooking a teething ring sensor to a computer running interactive music software built in Max/MSP.

Teething Ring Max/MSP Musical Instrument for Babies

The creators have surfaced, and posted a video of the results. At first, the baby seems confused and even upset, but by the end of the video, we’ve got the world’s youngest electronic musician:

More details, photos, and even a CD release of music made by babies, for babies, at the project site:

Teething Ring Instrument

Co-designer Jo writes with more details of the project and an explanation of some of the traditional Japanese instruments (one designed specifically for infants) mentioned in the project paper:

Hi, all. I’m jo. One of co-designer of TSI. Our project continues minutely. We’re very glad with your interest. Here, I briefly try to answer your question.

About tonality, as a practical reason, to use western tonality is easy to implement with Max and MIDI 🙂 . I suppose that in the one of the reason we Japanese use it. Babies got strong schema of tonality in early stage of growth (about 6 month to 1 year). So, as you mentioned, we need to have an experiment with other scales to try to catch the effect of musical instrument for early stage of growth. But, unfortunately, we couldn’t test it yet because of the problem of assembling the subjects (babies).

About Japanese musical instrument, “garagara” is a percussive instrument with a grip for baby (, and “poppen”(other name is vidro) is a blowing instrument made by glass. You can make two different sound with blowing motion (push and pull).and it’s not related to Pokemon 🙂 .

Thanks, Jo! Now that I hear the results, I have a much better sense of the project. I also understand the initial choice of Western tuning, as the music sounds really distinctive and baby-friendly.

So we now know a garagara looks like this:

And a popen/vidro looks like this:

Thanks for all of this, and I for one am looking forward to more baby-created instruments. Anyone who’s worked on something along the same lines, as well, do let us know.

[tags]alternative interfaces, children, design, instruments, Japan, Max/MSP, oddities, physical computing, Sensors, toys[/tags]