LatimerNOW Tinkerer – Electronic Instrument Wrap Up

The participants of the Electronic Musical Instrument project at The Lewis H. Latimer House Museum have completed their musical instruments!

For the past eight Sundays, the participants of these projects have been experimenting with new digital media and design practices to bring to life the beauty of expression born of two disciplines which often seem diametrically opposed – art and technology.
Our exploration into the conductive properties of matter began as an enquiry through the following question: Are human beings conductive? Participants tested their understanding by forming a human circuit composed of people and electronics. Participants realized that the electrons in their own bodies helped to close a circuit linked to electronic devises, turning on computer-programmed sounds.

Parallel to completing their final projects, participants held true to maker form and Latimer spirit by completing mini projects such as Sketch it Play it, which demonstrates the conductivity of graphite, Electromagnetic Mazes, which demonstrates the conductivity of Play Doh, and Jarlar Keys, exploiting the conductive properties of water. Throughout these projects, participants practically and schematically understood voltage, current, and resistance, the three components making electricity flow through their circuits. The compatibility of the Scratch and The Funkey Funkey interface allowed participants to program various musical instrument sounds using the scratch-X code that enables a conductive object to be transformed into an on/off button.
On the final day of their projects, families joined to see youth participants play their chosen pieces of music on flute, guitar, bass guitar, piano, and drums. We are extremely proud of these youth participants who stuck with their commitment and their parents who helped making this project a success and an inspiration.

We hope to see you all at our next session starting March 26 2017: Biologically Inspired Robots!!!

Karioki Crosby
LatimerNOW Tinker Lab Educator

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