Enter the maze

The 8-bit larynx

A robot plays the piano

There were lots of imaginative entries to the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition at Georgia Tech this year. It showcases new musical instruments whether played by human, computer or robot. The winner was a silent drum that is controlled by gestures. Other entries included a tongue music system, an instrument that makes music from the way a player solves a Sudoku, and a whimsical star-and- circle-shaped contraption with exposed wires that uttered slow, mysterious sounds.

Dan Stowell, whose work was profiled previously in Audio! (see 'Beatboxing with a very different voice'), was also there and made the finals demonstrating his system for controlling a synthesiser with his beatboxing voice. Dan's system picks up his vocal articulations with a microphone and converts them into control signals for his computer simulation of a classic 8-bit sound synthesiser. That means he can control its quirky sounds with his own language of vocal acrobatics.

There are lots of ways to make music, and lots more no doubt still to be invented with a little help from digital technologies.