Thanks to the magic of things like light sensors and accelerometers, it’s possible to turn nearly anything into a musical instrument. Next up: screenprinted pieces of paper.
Liquid Midi, a forthcoming project from ejtechnology, uses electrically conductive ink to send messages to electronic instruments like samplers and synthesizers. When the guy touches the ink in the video below, the ink “notices” his touch and produces an electrical signal, which is sent through the attached wires and converted into MIDI—a kind of universal code that nearly all electronic instruments can understand—then interpreted by a computer or synthesizer that is likely sitting offscreen. Effectively, that means he’s playing the synthesizer by touching the paper—when he places his finger on one of the dots to the left, for example, it triggers a beeping sound.
You could theoretically use Liquid Midi to control any electronic sound at all: from the drones and John Cage samples demonstrated in the video below to more conventional music. If you wanted to, you could use Liquid Midi to imitate a piano, or a guitar, or a singing human voice.
The device in the video is an early prototype, but from the video description, it sounds like ejtechnology plans to eventually release a commercial version. Alternately, here’s a tutorial for building your own.