Angela M. Sheehan has been experimenting with something she is calling the “Beatbox Hoop”. She’s using a conductive fabric taped hoop as a switch for a hacked stylophone beatbox toy embedded in her track jacket. The conductive patches on the arm and hip of the jacket are the contact points for generating sound from the beatbox. She’s still figuring out ideal placement and such, but it’s pretty interesting. Angela is a digital artist, crafter and DIY enthusiast living in Dover, New Hampshire, USA.
At Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, PhD student Danielle Wilde has invented a new type of musical instrument which will help you create music using your hips and waist. “I wanted to make something that encourages people to explore and extend the range of movement of their hips – outside of coordinated activities such as dance and sport,” Wilde told the University paper. The result is a pair of horizontal disks worn around the hips with electronics, speakers and conductive fabric sensors that play music when the wearer bends and the disks touch – not quite the musical hula hoop you might have been hoping for, but certainly another step in that direction. hipDisk is rather ungainly, funny, and very entertaining though and the aim is to improve flexibility, musical and spatial awareness, enhancing well being while having fun. Wilde’s invention won first prize on the popular Australian ABC television program The New Inventors where it competed against two life-saving devices for use in sports. It is now in the running for the Invention of the Year award, which will go to air on The New Inventors in August.
Chances are you’ve never heard of a Kaossonome Touch Arp, but Alexander Randon invented a touchscreen laid on top of 256 LEDs, encased in a aluminum-wood-plexiglass box 8 chunky, that delivers push-button laced knobs of musical technology. While none of the elements in and of themselves are particularly new, his whole package and execution of them together charts new territory. And it’s just one of a wave of new musical instruments that could play a role in the future of a musical hoop. The most interesting development so far, however, is an invention by Tulane graduate student Peter Leonard called the “Hula Hoop Controller”. In this case the musical artist is making a very electro-sounding composition, doing so simply by waving a wand inside a hoop – and then an attached computer “translates” the artist’s gestures into music.