iPad Music Box

The iPad Music Box is a simple musical interface that extends the iPad screen and creates a new physical/digital interaction. It is inspired by the traditional music box. While a music box produces sounds with a set of pins that pluck tuned tooth of a steel comb; this simple device consists of a “comb” of 5 mini-photocells associated with 5 mini-speakers.

The photocells are facing the iPad screen, which displays the music strip. The reading of the photocell changes whenever it faces a black pin, this signals the Arduino to pulse the associated speaker and produce a tone. Each speaker is associated with one photocell and is tuned to play a different tone. And the sequence of the black dots on the lines of the music strip composes the melody.
Users can set up this iPad Music Box to play any specific song or original composition (composed of 5 tones), by sequencing the black/white dots on the music strip.

iPad Music Box Top:

iPad Music Box Bottom:

Assembly Sequence:

Technical Prototype:

iPad Music Box Laser Cut Parts:
Below are the laser cut parts. Download the vector files for the laser cut here.

iPad Music Box Music Strips:
Currently the music stripe is a PDF opened with the iPad Kindle app.
Making the common swipe gesture on the iPad touchscreen a powerful and creative way to play analog music.
The next step would be to create an app that will allow users to compose the music strip via a touch interface on the iPad – the finger touch will become a black hole punch.
Below are just samples of music strips. Download full size music strips of some songs here.
When The Saints Go Marching In:

Ittizy Bitzy Spider:

iPad Music Box Ardunio Sketch:
The Arduino sketch is using the tone() command with an extra file, pitches.h that contains all the pitch values for typical notes. You can download the Arduino sketch here

Studio: Independent Project
Year Completed: 2013