RFID Beat Box

RFID tags trigger and compile musical loops.
None I built an instrument that allows a user to create and play music by placing RFID tags into wooden bowls. The tags, designed as vinyl record discs, are labeled by color and each tag/disc activates a unique sound. The top of the instrument has four wooden bowls, each labeled by color to indicate a certain instrument/musical type. The user can place the tags/discs into the bowls to layer and experiment with the different musical options. I also incorporated colored LEDs that blink to the music.

Frequently Asked Questions
What inspired you to do this?
I have always been interested in wireless technology and wanted to experiment using RFID (radio frequency identification) to control musical loops.
How long did it take to make it?
About 6 weeks from concept to completion.
How long have you been doing things like this?
Close to 10 years.
How much did this cost to do?
The most expensive bits were the RFID readers and IDs. In total everything probably cost around $200 in materials.
Have you done other things like this?
Yes, I love playing around with physical and digital projects focused on musical innovation.
What did you wish you knew before you started this?
I went into this project thinking of it as an experiment and the process of learning how to build it was just as fun as the final piece. If I had to pick something it would probably be how RFID readers actually worked.
Are there plans available to make this? Do you sell this?
No plans. I would like to make another iteration of this that is smaller and does not require a computer to play the audio.
What’s next?
Making it smaller, cheaper and more of a stand alone piece.
Tech sourced from Sparkfun (sparkfun.com)
Code written in Processing (processing.org)
Created while studying at NYUs ITP (tisch.nyu.edu/itp)

Danne Woo : Creative Technologist
The maker Danne Woo
I am a creative technologist who focuses on projects around design, data, programming, technology and musical innovation. I am also an Assistant Professor of Interaction Design at Queens College, CUNY.

Connect with Danne Woo
How I can help you:
Design, programming, physical computing, education.
How you can help me:
Always looking to collaborate on projects.