I caught this on the BBC NI News last night and was fascinated by the idea:
"A video of a new musical instrument created by a Queen’s University Belfast student has attracted over one million hits on the internet.
PhD student Peter Bennett (26) from Stevenage, England, made the video to demonstrate the BeatBearing - his electronic musical instrument that uses ball bearings to create different drum patterns.
The initial demonstration of the prototype has now been viewed more than one million times on internet video site YouTube.
The BeatBearing has been created as part of research into the use of ‘tangible interfaces’ for new musical instruments. The research is being led by Sile O’Modhrain within the renowned Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s.
The BeatBearing is an example of minimalist modern design created from chrome, transparent Perspex and computer graphics.
It acts as a rhythm sequencer - a red line sweeps across the grid, playing a sound whenever a ball bearing is encountered, “like an updated version of the old piano-roll”, according to Bennett.
Peter is currently studying for a PhD in the SARC at Queen’s and the BeatBearing is just one of many interesting projects in the department."
Report from QUB Press release; more info from Peter Bennett's website.
Isn't it amazing what you can do a PhD in these days?