Skip to Content

A Ball-Bearing Drum Machine

A cool new musical instrument is made from engineering tools.
January 23, 2009

This weird-looking instrument is proving quite a hit with hardware hackers. The instrument, called BeatBearing, makes drum patterns using ball bearings. It was created by Peter Bennett, a 26-year-old PhD student at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Here’s a video of Bennett’s prototype in action.

According to this release,

The BeatBearing is an example of minimalist modern design created from chrome, transparent Perspex and computer graphics.

It acts as a rhythm sequencer–a red line sweeps across the grid, playing a sound whenever a ball bearing is encountered, “like an updated version of the old piano-roll” according to Bennett.

Bennett has written a “make your own BeatBearing” step-by-step guide that will be published in the magazine MAKE. The instrument is also going to be the subject of a short film.

Here are a few more cool musical technologies we’ve covered recently.

Also, try your hand at creating a music mashup with this interactive graphic.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Every year, we look for promising technologies poised to have a real impact on the world. Here are the advances that we think matter most right now.

Scientists are finding signals of long covid in blood. They could lead to new treatments.

Faults in a certain part of the immune system might be at the root of some long covid cases, new research suggests.

AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.

What’s next for AI in 2024

Our writers look at the four hot trends to watch out for this year

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.