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