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Augmented Mobile Instruments

August 27, 2018 - August 31, 2018

Mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, etc.) have been used as musical instruments for over a decade, giving birth to the field of “mobile music.” CCRMA played a pioneering role in the development of this new form of “lutherie” and musical practice with the work of Ge Wang that culminated into MoPhO (Stanford’s Mobile Phone Orchestra).

Thanks to their built-in elements (e.g., motion sensors, touchscreen, speaker, microphone, etc.) and their computational power, mobile devices allow us to implement standalone and fully embodied musical instruments. However, they often lack crucial elements to compete with traditional acoustic instruments. In this workshop, mobile devices are used as a starting point to design instruments with extended capabilities. They are “augmented” using sensors or 3D printed passive elements to expand their “affordances” and turn them into expressive musical instruments.

During this one week intensive workshop, participants will be placed in the role of the “digital luthier” and will learn about the following topics:

  • Mobile app development for Android and iOS (Xcode, Android Studio, mobile app architecture, etc.)
  • Touch-screen user interface design for musical applications
  • Built-in sensors mapping
  • Faust programming language
  • Sound synthesis (including basic physical modeling) and processing (DSP)
  • 3D printing/basic CAD design (OpenScad)
  • Microcontrollers (Teensy)
  • MIDI controller design
  • Sensors
  • Digital lutherie

The end goal of the workshop is to make a mobile-device-based musical instruments that participants will demonstrate on the CCRMA stage during final presentations that will take place on Aug. 31, 2018.

This workshop is intended for musicians, makers, engineers, computer scientists, etc. It doesn’t require any previous background in computer programming or signal processing and is open to everyone. We expect participants to bring their own laptop and mobile device (smartphone and/or tablet). The following devices will be supported during the workshop:

  • Any iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, etc.) less than 5 years old. iOS development is only possible on Mac computers: we expect you to bring your own Mac if you decide to make instruments for the iOS platform.
  • Any Android device running at least on Jelly Bean (4.1). However, we recommend to have Marshmallow (6.0) or greater for optimal performances. Android devices can be programmed with any computer running on Linux, OSX or Windows.


August 27, 2018
August 31, 2018
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Stanford University Dept of Music CCRMA


CCRMA Stage, Stanford University
660 Lomita Ct
Stanford, CA 94305 United States
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