New drum machine is a load of balls

Peter Bennett with his BeatBearing
Peter Bennett with his BeatBearing

A YouTube video of a new sequencer / drum machine created by a Queen's University Belfast student has now attracted over one million hits.

The video, is by PhD student Peter Bennett, 26, and demonstrates his BeatBearing - an electronic musical instrument that uses ball bearings to create different drum patterns.

Bennett created the BeatBearing as part of research into the use of 'tangible interfaces' for new musical instruments. 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.

"The BeatBearing project is being developed as part of my PhD. It started out as a weekend project when one of my colleagues left ball bearings lying around the lab and I wondered how you could make music with them."

Bennett has now written a 'make your own BeatBearing' step-by-step guide to be published soon in the American technology magazine Make:

"It will be even more useful when people start building their own and making adjustments to the original design," adds Bennet.

A novel new instrument, or just a load of balls? You decide…

Via Science Daily.