Make your mirror sound like a xylophone with Mogees

Kickstarter project Mogees lets you compose music from a table, toaster, tricycle, or virtually any other object, like a modern-day Mozart.

Mogees
With Mogees, even your coffee cup can become a musical instrument. Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

Do you like to tap your spoon on your coffee mug at breakfast? Drum on the steering wheel on your way to work? Thrum your fingers on your desk? If so, you might want to check out a new Kickstarter project from UK-based computer music researcher Bruno Zamborlin that could just turn your random taps into compositions.

"About two years ago, my colleagues and I had this idea about transforming everyday objects around us into unique musical instruments," Zamborlin says in his Kickstarter introductory video. That led him to create Mogees, an app paired with a special contact microphone that affixes to practically any surface to make an object "playable." The result is that tapping on the glass wall of a bus shelter gives you a sound akin to an Indonesian gamelan. Sliding coins on a table sounds like ringing a bicycle bell. Even tapping on a car becomes a musical endeavor -- somewhere between twanging guitar strings and steel drum.

Zamborlin told Crave the contact microphone "converts the vibration made by users when they touch objects into an electric signal. The signal is then sent to the analog audio input port of the phone, where the software app analyses it and converts into musical sound on the fly."

Mogees
Mogees will have a wide range of customizable options to make your compositions unique. Mogees/Kickstarter

To get the sounds into and out of the phone, the app will come with a special plug that goes into the phone's headphone jack. This plug has the corded microphone attached to it, as well as a minijack input for connecting your own speaker or headphones.

The microphone itself is made from a special material that keeps its stickiness even after it gets dirty and is wiped clean with a cloth.

One of the more fun features of the app is the ability to capture sound from one item, record it, and then use it to play another item. For example, Zamborlin says that "someone can capture the sound of a glass and save it, and can then play the tree in a park, making it sounding like a glass."

The app also lets users assign their own preset sounds to different objects, or to play Mogees in "free mode," which, according to the site, lets you "find new ways to produce different notes and timbres by exploring how to play physical objects (with) different gestures using bare hands or anything you can find around you." Mogees even allows you to upload a favorite song and then reinterpret it by replacing its normal instruments with those created by tapping on objects of your choice.

In addition to being just plain fun, Zamborlin says he'd like to see Mogees help with music education through the development of additional apps that could teach students "music and the science of sound in radically new ways."

The campaign is seeking to raise 50,000 pounds (about $83,500) by March 19. If the product gets funded, you just might have to get used to seeing people playing fence posts and mailboxes every time you walk down the street.

 

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