Arduino, Sound
comments 3

Beat Blox – Tangible beats by Per Holmquist


Beat Blox is a graduation project by Per Holmquist from Beckmans College of Design in Sweden. The project includes a music machine which allows anyone to create and experiment with music, in a playful and tangible way. The installation includes three turntables, all with built in Arduino, midishield and a total of 15 digital distance sensors. As the user adds a block to the deck, the distance sensor plays a sound. Combining all three turntables produces some quite intricate and fun beats.

Project Page | Per Holmquist


  • Music + Arduino. Love this. Great find!

  • Hugo Villeneuve

    Super Interesting !

    I actually designed the same type of system in 2003 using a different approaches. I used a camera and I build a image recognition software to control the music via a MIDI interface. On the turntable, Instead of blocks I used marbles and I had multiple place holder (holes) where I could place the marble. This way, the distance between marbles where always the same to produce a perfect repetitive beat .

    THe software was able to detect different input variable :
    Marble color
    Marble Size
    the location of the marble on the turntable
    Velocity-Speed of the Marble when entering the trigger area.
    My trigger area (so the sound will be produce) could be in different places

    Each of these variable could be control different things like :
    – Which Instrument will be triggered,
    – The Pitch and volume
    – And all other variable in a MIDI protocol like the ‘attack parameter’

    So for example, I could decide that the yellow color marble will be associated the Drum instrument and the size of the marble will be different volume. The closer the marble was to the center of the turntable the faster the beat of the instrument. The number of instrument was only limited to the number of colors.

    I hope this could give your more Idea for your next version.

  • Josh

    done three years ago