Liverpool startup, Arterfacts, has pioneered a smart musical instrument utilising the internet of things. It allows users to play keyboard, string, percussion and wind instruments through movement, or via an attached touchscreen and mouthpiece.
The device can be configured depending on which instrument the user would like to play. When playing violin, for example, it can be held under the user’s chin and the screen will display musical notes and strings that the user can “bow”. For piano, the instrument is laid flat and the screen will show musical notes along and row of keys.
Arterfacts – founded by primary school teaching assistant, Tom Clarke – was given the tools and technology to develop the instrument via the Activate programme. Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the project helps grow companies in the digital and creative sector using emerging technologies.
The programme saw Arterfacts work closely with Dr David Tully – from the Department of Computer Science at project partner, Liverpool John Moores University – to take the smart instrument from concept to reality. 3D printing was deployed to create a prototype ensuring comfort of use, and functionality problems were refined.
Tom Clarke, founder of Arterfacts, said: “From young children to adults working in performing arts, this product gives anyone that loves music the option to have several instruments at their fingertips.”
Jonathon Clark, business and technology manager at Activate, said: “Arterfacts has successfully taken a creative idea and developed into its first ever product as a limited company. This is a truly revolutionary device with lots of potential.”
Arterfacts will be developing a mobile app to work alongside the instrument, providing further creative elements such as musical coaching and gaming.