Abacus has existed since ancient times and has taken a similar form in hundreds of cultures that have adopted it. It may be one of the first devices to be considered a “user interface” in the modern context – at least for general mathematical calculations. But using an Abacus as a UI for a music synthesizer seems like something completely new.
Part by art concept project and part by musical instrument, “Abacusynth” [Elias Jarzombek] A way to bring a more visual and touching experience to a synth as opposed to a simple knob and switch. The control part of the synth consists of two thin plywood vertical four horizontal rods. Each rod is matched to a vocal cords of polyphonic synth and contains a lozenge-shaped spinner mounted on a low-friction bearing. Each spinner can be moved left and right on its rod, which controls the presence of that voice; Controls channel modulation through photosensors in slotted knob spinning operators. Each rod has a knot on one side that activates an encoder to control the waveform of each voice and its harmonies.
In use, the synthesizer is an excellent blend of electronic music and dynamic sculpture. The knobs seem to rotate forever, so the Abacusinth combines the experience of a fidget spinner with a bit of new word exploration from the built-in speaker. Synth also has a MIDI interface, so it works and plays well with other instruments. The video below shows the hardware version of Abacusinth in action; There is also a web-based simulation to try before you create.
Thanks [Jonas] For the tip