An Instrument for the Sonification of Everday Things is an electronic device with a retractable spindle that will accept most any readily available item. A scanning laser then reads the distance of the object as it rotates and translates that data into musical notes.

Created by Dennis P Paul, this instrument creates loops that are remarkably reminiscent of Dubstep. The user can slide the laser back and forth, picking up different parts of the object, and a stepper motor that rotates the spindle can be synched to an existing drumbeat. The data from the laser is sent to Processing before being exported melodically.

[via The Creators Project]

Michael Colombo

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

  • Jake Spurlock

    That is so rad… I want one for my house/desk/car.

    • Michael Colombo

      I know, right? I want to stick everything I own into that thing.

  • Hank Curmudgeon

    Better to have called it a “Sound Lathe”.

  • Eric

    This doesn’t sound anything like dubstep…

    • Jake Spurlock


      What about now?

  • chuck

    That’s exactly the kind of thing I come here hoping to see. As RPM = BPM in this instance it would be cool if it could be synced to an external clock or another similar unit. Incorporating DIY 3D printing skills to create custom objects to scan would be cool. You could design rythmic sculpture on a rotating pedestal with multiple lasers controlling multiple voices.

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  • Ramses

    Sounds like Roasted Chicken