Reinventing the Noisebox: Designing Embedded Instruments for Active Musicians



John Sullivan

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John Sullivan, Julian Vanasse, Catherine Guastavino, Marcelo M. Wanderley


This paper reports on the user-driven redesign of an embedded digital musical instrument that has yielded a trio of new instruments, informed by early user feedback and co-design workshops organized with active musicians. Collectively, they share a stand-alone design, digitally fabricated enclosures, and a common sensor acquisition and sound synthesis architecture, yet each is unique in its playing technique and sonic output. We focus on the technical design of the instruments and provide examples of key design specifications that were derived from user input, while reflecting on the challenges to, and opportunities for, creating instruments that support active practices of performing musicians.

Publication Type:

Conference Paper

Publication Date:


Conference or Publisher:

Proc. of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME)


Birmingham, UK

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