teaching machines

SCSI 2019: Research Project Ideas

As part of SCSI, you will work with another individual to complete a research project. We can define research as the generation and sharing of new knowledge. In the context of digital music and sound, research projects might have the following form:

  • You design a new kind of musical instrument, novel in how it gains its input, produces its output, or both.
  • You propose a model for some music-related phenomenon and test its viability.
  • You devise a new and improved way of completing a musical task.
  • You situate music or sound in a new way in some context.
  • You replicate or fail to replicate research done by others.

Ideally, you will choose a project that’s of interest to you and your partner. Following are some specific ideas of projects that have been rolling around in my head, which you may take or leave as you wish:

  • Create an instrument that sounds like a wind-up music box.
  • Create an instrument that synthesizes birdsong.
  • Develop a game that relies solely on audio and no visual cues.
  • Turn a musician’s actions, gestures, voice, or other inputs into a MIDI file or a score.
  • Collect several samples of any sound-producing device, and build up the remaining pitches to produce a custom instrument.
  • Develop a system for “decoding” music from everyday objects—like paint swatches, photographs, and so on—through sensors.
  • Design a music generation system using Markov Chains.
  • Design a music generation system using L-systems.
  • Design a music generation system using cellular automata.
  • Design a cooperative instrument that relies on two or more people interacting.
  • Synchronize the mouth of an animated sprite to a vocal recording.
  • Develop a game that uses a MIDI instrument for input.

The following hardware is available for use in your projects:

  • 2-axis joysticks
  • infrared motion sensors
  • 4-pin push buttons
  • slide switches
  • various colors of LEDs
  • ultrasonic sensors
  • 3-axis accelerometers (MPU-9250 and MPU-6050)
  • flex sensors
  • RGB color sensors
  • Bluetooth modems
  • 12-touch capacitance sensors
  • BME280 temperature, humidity, and pressure sensors
  • Piezo vibration sensors
  • Kuman 3.5-inch touch screen with stylus
  • multiplexers
  • breadboards
  • wires
  • resistors
  • potentiometers
  • Arduino boards


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