Music Robotics

We’ve always prided ourselves on the resonant quality of O’Reilly titles amongst our readers, but we didn’t mean literally. This Japanese maker found that they generated the best sound when building a book xylophone. Apparently Japanese paper is too moist and returns more of a thud. But O’Reilly books are just right. And the varied book sizes (and uniform cover designs) came in handy too.

Musical instruments made of books [In machine-translated Manglish]

14 thoughts on “Xylophone Made from O’Reilly Books

    1. I wanted to know the same thing! It looks like a fun product. In the comments of the blog post, two people ask and the response is “I think MIDI-TAP and Knocker! are handmade devices, and can’t be purchased.” I tried doing my own searches and came up empty handed. The YouTube comments on the video above lead me to: and then to: but then the trail went cold. “Knocker” is in the index section, but I can’t click on it. Hopefully someone will be able to figure out more about them. Perhaps the Japanese version of the site has the info we’re interested in.

      1. I did the same thing and ran into the same dead end. There’s a lot of stuff about the Knockerman toy line inspired by the Knocker, but I couldn’t find the Knocker itself being offered anywhere for sale. I got excited ’cause I thought it’d be a good product for the Shed to maybe carry. It appears that the guy who did the xylophone is actually the president of the company, so maybe I’ll try reaching out to him.

        1. I’m afraid you won’t find it for sale anywhere. Maywa Denki is the “stage name” of artist Tosa Nobumichi (you’ll find details here: look for the “company” tab). So the “Knocker” is actually more of a piece of art than a gadget. Maywa Denki is hugely popular in Japan and have had several exhibitions in Tokyo and abroad. What makes these exhibitions so cool is their interactivity and the opportunity for the public to play with Maywa Denki’s instruments.

  1. watched the video hoping to hear at least a semi recognizable tune from this “xylophone”
    you should have called this Book Blue Man Group Tribute

    the only cool and original thing about this project would have been ‘tuned’ books to notes, and i would have literally orgasmed if that had been the case. instead we have a half hearted physical sequencer.

    –bitterly dissapointed

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn