Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Brittany Sauser

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.

The AI revolution is here. Will you lead or follow?
Join us at EmTech Digital 2019.

Register now
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.