Posted by Matt G. on December 24, 2003 at 20:46:52:
I found this looking in the CNN archives. Perhaps it'll get more kids to look into playing the tuba...
Fitting the bill is the Squeeze Tuba, a U-shaped foam tuba the size of an adult's arm and covered in soft, squeezable velvet. The Squeeze Tuba is an accessible entree to music for kids. Too often, children are introduced to music via dry theory, according to Tod Machover, an assistant professor of music and media at MIT.
"For years I've wanted a musical interface that would let me push and twist and jab," said Machover, who is also a cellist and a composer.
The Squeeze Tuba has sensors sewn into its fabric and can be programmed to emit notes and noises. The tuba can also be set to play a continuous sound that changes in pitch or clarity when the player manipulates the soft instrument. For example, if someone plunges their fingers into the Squeeze Tuba and moves them aggressively and rapidly, the sound will be "electronic and quick," Machover said.
The Squeeze Tuba need not be plugged in to work. But it can connect to home theaters or to other music toys. Machover expects the Squeeze Tuba and sibling instruments to be commercially available in about two years.
"We wanted to make them quite inexpensive and completely conceivable to distribute in a fairly large quantity and ... make a dent in the way kids are introduced to music," Machover said.
Source: "MIT Designs Toys of Tomorrow" http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9812/21/mittoys.idg/index.html
Merry Christmas to all!