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Musical Mancala


Musical Mancala


Role: Sketch ideation, Electronic Prototyping, 3D modeling/renders, CNC Machining


Physical Drum Machine

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Musical Mancala borrows the idea of a complex digital based interface of a musical sequencer from a computer screen and translates it into a simpler tactile physical interface for an automatic drum machine.  Users simulate percussive instruments using eight Mancala-like pockets around a wooden board.  As beads are dropped into each cup like a game of Mancala, music begins to play and an understanding of the musical interface begins to develop indicating eight notes in a looping measure of beats.  


early Prototyping

A working prototype was made with an Arduino microcontroller with magnetic reed sensors detecting whether there was a magnet ball present to trigger the sensor.  This triggered a piezo-electric buzzer to make a beep in sequence to whether a ball was detected or not, thus creating a physical beat-making machine.




A second prototype was made using an MIDI shield extension board allowing for a greater possibility of sound with over 100 different instrument sounds.


Physical model

In addition to a working electronic prototype I used a CNC machine to machine an appearance model from pink foam to present a sense of scale and proportion of the final product.