INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION: Percussion Kitchen

The Percussion Kitchen is an electronic rhythm instrument that uses household cooking items as its drums and cymbals. A durable arcade button controller triggers a servo motor plus an array of solenoids that strike the various objects to produce acoustic, percussive sounds.

Team
Devin Curry & Ben Gullard – concept & design, electronics, Arduino programming, fabrication

Design & Process
The interactive sculpture repurposes everyday objects from the kitchen and extracts their unique sonic properties. Forbes

Each button on the controller is mapped to a particular sound, such as motorized fork scraping a metal cheese grater, plastic food containers of different sizes, and a pepper shaker. There is also a toggle to dampen the hanging cheese grater; this gives control over the resonance of the metallic sounds, similar to opening and closing the high hat cymbals on a traditional drum kit.
Sketches

Under the hood

 

Musically inclined users can quickly learn the button mappings and play musical rhythms with one or two handed techniques.

Controller concepts

Button mapping 1Research of finger drumming techniques led to a variety of design sketches. Further insights led to simple physical prototypes made from foamcore. One of these button layouts directly led to the final design, which employed a cutting board with mounted buttons to maintain the “kitchen” aesthetic.

Full documentation available here.

Press

Featured in Forbes.com, Make Magazine, and Synthtopia.