Look closely, this rack of speakers is actually a mechanized drum-kit!

Maverick creator Love Hultén is turning drumming into a visual art form of sorts! Slagwerk-101 is an audiovisual sculpture that uses a series of percussive instruments and turns them into a physical interpretation of a digital drum-machine. By simply mounting sticks on, which are actuated using a signal board that reads MIDI signals and converts them into real beats, Slagwerk-101 is perhaps one of the most tongue-in-cheek interpretations of the words Electronic Dance Music.

The setup involves individual instrument units that come together in a modular setup. This modular nature allows Slagwerk 101 to expand or contract, and be laid out in a variety of different ways. The individual drum modules include everything from kick drums, to snares, toms, and hi-hats, to even some unusual ones, like the tambourine, a pair of hands (they’re wooden), and a Saturday Night Live classic, the cowbell. Sticks are attached to electromagnetic solenoids, and can be plugged right into individual modules using quarter-inch jacks, and can be routed to the signal board, which translates beats playing from a connected laptop. The result is a set up worth geeking out over. The laptop sends beats to the drum-kit, which play the loops back in real-time with stunning response time… Professor Terence Fletcher from the movie Whiplash would be pretty proud of this machine’s tempo.

Designer: Love Hultén

This Simple Touch Synthesizer Makes Some Crazy Sounds

Electronic musicians are always looking for new ways to expand their arsenal of sounds. There are lots of different off-the-shelf synthesizers out there, but some of the coolest instruments are the homebrew designs out there. I recently stumbled onto this cool little touch-based synth, and it offers up some really nifty analog sounds.

Designed by Michael Rucci, the Touch Synthesizer has 15 contact points on its front. The monophonic noisemaker automatically plays the highest pitch of the keys being touched, and it’s both touch sensitive and sensitive to the resistance of its player’s fingertips. In addition, it has a couple of effects points at its ends – one for modulation, and one that makes a sort of scratch effect by altering frequencies. It’s also got control knobs for modulation speed, volume, and a low-pass filter. You can listen to some example sounds it can make in the video demo below:

The little synth runs off of a 9V battery, and has a mono 1/4″ output for connecting to an amplifier or mixing board. Best of all, it’s a bargain at just $45 over on Rucci’s handmade musical instruments Etsy shop.

Hackers made a Detroit interstate billboard play a porn scene

Drivers in Auburn Hills, Michigan, got a heck of a surprise last Saturday night when an electronic billboard starting playing porn. The billboard, located alongside I-75 North between University Drive and highway M-59 in Auburn Hills, began playing t...