I’m always utterly fascinated by food science and the crazy stuff the foodies come up with (they’d likely say the same about fashion designers, too.) One of the coolest things I’ve seen in days was this neat entry at the Amsterdam-based Materia database: ‘Musical Pudding‘ or as the designers themselves call it, ‘Noisy Jelly.’
Other than the fact this material was developed by some designers in France, it wouldn’t seem to have much to do with fashion or apparel. However, when I saw this I was immediately taken with what a clever application the whole concept of ‘Noisy Jelly’ was.
The designers came up with a wild way of creating a musical instrument that you play by ‘playing with your food’. Using some more-or-less commonly available kitchen items (agar-agar, colorant, water, dessert mold) packaged into a cute mini-chemistry lab along with an Arduinno sound board, you make little jellies from the agar-agar, let them gel, then turn them out onto the soundboard. The soundboard is a capacitative sensor that detects the distance and strength of a finger touch and transform the handling into audio signals. In other words, pet the jellies and they make sounds.
I am reminded of an organic theramin. Words can’t really do this concept justice, you really do need to see the video.
Although they don’t say whether or not you can eat the jellies, how cool would it be if you could? Parents everywhere would stop discouraging little Janey or Jimmy from playing with their food! Martha Stewart could really do something with a dessert tray of these things.
Why I loved this idea so much – it takes some well-understood bits and pieces (capacitors, gels) and mashes them up into something very fun and funky. Gels are interesting things at the best of times (they’re just so useful in so many ways), and when you add them to something that turns them into an instrument, well, what’s not to like?
Wouldn’t this just make just a super cute Science Fair project? You could change the chemical basis of the dyes to add or subtract salt quantities, change the shapes and volumes of the molds, and so on, to create a lexicon of sounds from the jellies. Or of course, couple the Noisy Jelly with a theramin and a digeridoo, and you’ve got an epic garage band. Of sorts. I can already see the you-Tube channel…