Music can calm us, excite us, motivate us and lift our spirits. Music comes in all forms and form factors – even ambient noise can have positive effects on mood and productivity.
There has never been a point in our shared human history where so many have the power to access such a wide range of musical options. There are millions of songs available for individual download on iTunes or Google Music, there are apps that offer streaming playlists – built on the fly based on your personal preferences. Then there are apps like Coffivitity (that offer the background noises of a coffee shop) or Thunderspace (that captures ambient sounds in stereoscopic 3D).
But beyond consuming so many different types of music and sound from across the globe, the tools, instruments and technology to create music has never been more widely accessible. This access jumps exponentially with the growth and support of the open source development community. Whether it’s with hardware or software, more and more people are experimenting with creating their personal life soundtrack. And beyond playing instruments or simply recording sounds lies the area of sound effect manipulation.
In the music industry, the electronics that are used to modify sounds are called effects units. The most common form factor is a “stompbox” or foot pedals that can be connected to any fretted instrument, keyboard or microphone. They can consist of analog or digital circuitry. They usually have LEDs to determine if the unit is on or to indicate which type of effect is currently selected. They have to output the modified signal to an amplifier or a recording device.
That’s a lot of electronics going on.
Which got us at element14.com wondering – what could our members invent that would enable and extend the ability to manipulate audio – whether from a musical instrument or voice or recordings or the sounds in the space around you?
The perfect platform for this challenge is the open source BeagleBone Black. In fact, that’s the only required component for anyone to enter a build into this competition.
What might a Music Tech Challenge Project look like?
- How about connecting your favorite hand held gaming devices into a system that lets you sample, echo, and reverb the hypnotic beeps and tunes of your games into a personalized pop tune?
- How about a backpack with speakers and a BeagleBone that’s accepting wireless input from “buttons” on the bottom of your shoes? You’ll never miss a beat if the beat is based on how you’re dancing. . .
- How about a good old fashioned wah-wah pedal? But maybe it can take input from a variety of sources beyond a guitar or microphone.
Project submissions open until 14th March 2016 00:59GMT subject to following this Challenge's Terms and Conditions.
See current Challengers Projects.