Ready for some blue-sky, 35,000-foot-altitude thinking? Photo (CC-BY-ND Andres Rueda.

Want a flying car? Dream of the flying car. Build the flying car.

A competition I’m hosting with Digitópia, the musical-technological community of Porto, Portugal, extends to readers worldwide a challenge to dream up the digital musical instrument/interface/creation you want. Got something practical you wish could be built? Got something impractical and bizarre? Either way, articulate it in the best way you can — images, words, videos, mock-ups, stop motion animation, beat poetry, whatever you think is best — and send it in. We’ll share the most interesting entries, and pick one that the folks at Digitópia will actually build. (So, if it is unfeasible, we’ll have to find one that at least can be made feasible.)

I hope it’s just the beginning of this kind of big-picture thinking in digital music.

Here’s organizer Rui Penha on the concept behind the call for entries:

Digitópia = Digital Utopia. We strongly believe in the power of communities, of open source endeavors, of sharing and spreading inspiring ideas, either simple or utterly crazy ones. Our goal is to empower the individual with means to achieve a more fulfilling, rewarding and personal musical expression, regardless of his or her experience and motivation. New interfaces and instruments can overcome the steep technique obstacles of some old ones and create new musical languages and thus we want to make them available to everyone. We want to help you build your idea and, together, we’ll share it with the whole world!

We want your ideas, but you have to act fast. The deadline is this Saturday, midnight GMT, April 3.

Submit ideas via email to, using whatever medium of illustration you wish. Works will be judged on innovation, originality, feasibility and inclusive potential. If you win, you get your instrument, built for you.

Full rules after the break / bottom of this post.

By the way, if you’re near Porto, Portugal, there’s a Handmade Music event this Saturday 3/27! Go, take videos, photos, enjoy! Details:

In Portugal, Now

Por favor divulgue. Obrigado! / Please spread. Thank you! (english version below)

A quarta edição da Handmade Music Porto terá lugar já no próximo sábado, dia 27 de Março, na Digitópia: uma festa que junta um mostra&conta a uma jam session com instrumentos únicos. De hardware a software feito em casa até circuit bending, kits personalizados ou instrumentos acústicos originais, todos estão convidados a aparecer na Casa da Música pelas 21h30 para montagem de instrumentos. Estarão disponíveis algumas mesas e tomadas, contudo os canais de amplificação serão muito limitados, pelo que será melhor vir prevenido. Pelas 22h abrimos o evento ao público geral – a entrada é livre e recomenda-se -, ocupando a Digitópia e a zona do bar do Foyer Sul. Contamos convosco!

Teremos dois convidados muito especiais: Rolf Gehlhaar e Luís Girão, que trarão alguns dos instrumentos criados para o projecto “instruments 4 everyone”, no âmbito do Festival Ao Alcance de Todos, edições de 2009 e 2010, que agora começa.

Rolf Gehlhaar –

Luís Girão –


The fourth Handmade Music Porto, a party + show&tell + jam session with unique instruments, will take place at Digitópia next saturday, March 27th. From handmade hardware or software all the way to circuit bending, customized kits or original acoustic instruments, everyone is welcome at Casa da Música around 9:30pm for assembling the instruments. We’ll provide some tables and power sockets, but only a few channels for amplification, so it is advisable not to rely on them. At 10pm we’ll open the doors – admission is free and we’ll have a bar! See you there!

We’ll have two very special guests: Rolf Gehlhaar and Luís Girão, who will bring some of the instruments made for the “instruments 4 everyone” project, part of the Ao Alcance de Todos festival in 2009 and 2010, starting this week.

Rolf Gehlhaar –

Luís Girão –


You may view the latest post at

Entering the Competition (worldwide)

Rules (PDF download):

RULES · Digitópia Dreams Competition · Digitópia 2010
1 ·
1.1 · Entrants shall submit an idea for their dream instrument, interface or software.
1.2 · Only original and yet to be materialized ideas will be admissible.
1.2 · The winning entries shall be developed under a Creative Commons license – .
2.1 · Works shall be submitted by email to the address , with the contact information of the
applicant – full name, nationality, date of birth, email address – on the email body.
2.2 · Each applicant is free to choose the best way (text, schemes, videos, etc.) to present his or her idea.
2.2 · The closing date for entries is 03/04/2010, at 23:59 GMT.
2.3 · All successful submissions will receive an auto-reply by email.
2.4 · Each applicants may submit up to three ideas.
3 ·
3.1 · The jury will be comprised of Peter Kirn (president), Paulo Maria Rodrigues and Rui Penha.
3.2 · Judging will be based on each submission’s innovation, originality, feasibility and inclusive potential.
3.3 · The jury will announce its decision on 02/06/2010, through Digitópia’s website – .
3.4 · The jury may decide that none of the works submitted merit selection.
3.5 · The jury’s decision shall be final.
4 ·
4.1 · The winning applicant will be invited to collaborate with Casa da Música and Digitópia’s team on the development of his or her
4.2 · At least two copies of the project will be built, one for the applicant and other for Casa da Música.
4.3 · The complete process will be documented and shared under a Creative Commons license –
about/licenses attributed to the applicant.

Good luck! I look forward to the results.