Steampunk sequencer generates audio from Lego blocks

Sean Hollister
S. Hollister|03.10.10

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Steampunk sequencer generates audio from Lego blocks
In 2007, steampunk musician Yoshi Akai wrote his master's thesis on how to turn color into sound, and he's been dreaming up unorthodox ways of producing music ever since. Case in point: the Lego Sequencer MR II, a contraption that uses three-dimensional Lego structures to emulate a three-channel, eight-step sequencer, where each differently colored plastic brick produces a different sound and complex combinations (including tremolo and overdrive) are possible when the blocks are stacked. Akai tells us it works using resistors embedded in each and every block, with parallel networks of resistors formed as the bricks pile up, equalling lower resistance and thus a higher frequency sound generated by the contraption. While the result certainly won't back a techno track -- Akai says he's "building sound more than playing sound" -- it looks like a good step up from the lethargic phaser noise produced by his Wireless Catcher, a lot of fun to play with, and much less expensive than hiring a team of hot models. Video after the break.

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