FingerSynth: Wearable transducers for exploring the environment through sound


Responsive Environments group

Responsive Environments group


The FingerSynth is a wearable musical instrument made up of a bracelet and set of rings that enables its players to produce sound by touching nearly any surface in their environments. Each ring contains a small, independently controlled audio exciter transducer. The rings sound loudly when they touch a hard object, and are silent otherwise. When a wearer touches their own (or someone else's) head, the contacted person hears sound through bone conduction, inaudible to others. A microcontroller generates a separate audio signal for each ring, and can take user input through an accelerometer in the form of taps, flicks, and other gestures. The player controls the envelope and timbre of the sound by varying the physical pressure and the angle of their finger on the surface, or by touching differently resonant surfaces. The FingerSynth encourages players to experiment with the materials around them and with one another.