Updated at 10:40 a.m. PDT, Wednesday, March 11, with more details on the instrument that took second place.
Imagine Keith Moon relentlessly pounding away with a set of drumsticks. Now imagine him making sounds simply by moving his hands around the head of the drum.
That's more or less what he'd be doing were he using inventor Jaime Oliver's Silent Drum Controller.
First place winner in the first Guthman Musical Instrument Competition sponsored by Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology, it's a transparent drum shell, illuminated from the inside, with an elastic head. As one presses it, the head deforms and a variety of shapes with peaks are created reflecting the shape of the mallet or hand.
A video camera captures these shapes and sends the images to the computer, which analyzes them and outputs the tracked parameters.
Not a drum you'd find in the music shop at the mall, but that was exactly the idea behind the contest, which solicited new instruments--in physical or virtual manifestations, and played by humans, robots, or computers--that enhance music performance and creation.
Nearly 30 inventors from seven countries performed on Georgia Tech's campus to demonstrate their instrument's musicality, design, and engineering features and compete for prizes--$5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second, $2,000 for third, and free copies of the Rock Band for those nabbing fourth through sixth place. … Read more