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BeatBearing Tangible Sequencer: Interview with Peter Bennett

Music Technology
BeatBearing Tangible Sequencer: Interview with Peter Bennett

One of my favorite projects from MAKE Volume 17 is the BeatBearing Tangible Rhythm Sequencer by Peter Bennett, a Queens University Belfast Ph.D. student in the Sonic Arts Research Centre. Playing with the sequencer is mesmerizing and addictive! It’s a great way to see a physical incarnation of making electronic beats and rhythms. Simply put, moving the ball bearings on the clear plastic grid changes the beat. Check out this video to see the sequencer in action:

Having been to numerous “laptop performances,” I’m really drawn to the visual appeal of the BeatBearing sequencer as well as its inherent simplicity. Here’s a neat closeup:


Per the intro, “The fun part is that the whole interface is transparent and sits on top of a computer screen, allowing graphics to be shown from directly underneath.” Here’s a picture of the whole setup:


Build your own BeatBearing sequencer using the 10-page DIY in MAKE 17, and drop some beats! Pick it up at a newsstand near you, at the Maker Shed, or in your mailbox when you subscribe.


6 thoughts on “BeatBearing Tangible Sequencer: Interview with Peter Bennett

  1. Rarebeasts says:

    Now that’s a cool project, I like seeing music projects in make. Can’t wait for my copy to come.

  2. suba says:

    Get rid of the monitor, and the PC, and this would be an awesome project. Little arduino running the sequencer, and triggering a few analog drum circuits… maybe have a midi output as well… LEDs integrated behind each ring (rather than using the monitor behind it)…

    definitely a good proof of concept. But I’d love to see this as a finished product for sale, or especially as a kit!

    Get rid of the giant clunky appendages! (monitor and PC) :-)

  3. Goli Mohammadi says:

    Suba, that’s the beauty of DIY projects: you’re free to reinvent and mod to your heart’s content. Send us a picture if you do! Now the kit idea we can work on–I’ll let the Maker Shed folks know!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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