To make a human synthesizer, all you need is a few arduinos, a bucket of conductive paint and a surface area of bare skin. Using Bare, a non-toxic conductive ink that can be applied directly to the skin, musician Calvin Harris transforms 15 bikini clad performers into human switches that play musical notes while “high-fiving” one another or tapping on large conductive disks placed on the floor.
Conductive pads connect to a computer via Arduinos
The instrument consists of 34 conductive pads which are connected to a computer via two Arduinos and use the graphical audio programming tool Max MSP. The performers stand on the pads and touch hands to complete a circuit and trigger a sound.
Conductive ink painted on hands
Different combinations of pads trigger the different sounds needed to play the track. The performers, floor pads, Arduinos and Max MSP combine to create a giant MIDI controller which is used to create music which is sequenced and quantized with Ableton Live.
the Human Synthesizer
The project is the result of a collaboration between Calvin Harris and masters students Becky Pilditch, Matt Johnson, Isabel Lizardi and Bibi Nelson from the Royal College of Art’s Industrial Design Engineering programme. Enjoy the video! via Iheartswitch