Magical 3D Printed Prosthetics Make Human Instruments

wearable music prostheses

We tend to think of prostheses as objects that help return function to a disabled person (or animal), but two McGill University PhD candidates have thought of an entirely new way to use them. Joseph Mallock and Ian Hattwick turn 3D printed virtual limbs into fascinating musical instruments.

musical prostheses

The prostheses are worn by dancers who perform with the objects, either wearing them or holding them. Every time one of the objects is touched, or whenever the dancer moves, the prosthetic device makes beautiful music. The music is created using sensors and wireless data transceivers; whenever the objects are touched or moved, the data is run through software and synthesized into music.

Because the dancers can wear or remove the prostheses at will, they have the freedom to create wonderfully complex and novel performances. The artificial objects become a part of the dancers’ bodies for a short time, making them look something like graceful aliens who have come to bring us their otherworldly music.

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See more in Cybernetics or under Technology. August, 2013.