International synth design hackathon with Adafruit hardware
Synthux Academy reached out to us with the idea to run an international synth design hackathon and we were happy to help support it. The first event is kicking off with Berlin University of the Arts, followed by 7 other leading academies worldwide!
Participating students will receive a surprise box of Adafruit sensors and an Electrosmith Daisy Seed microcontroller. They’ll have 4 days to come up with a prototype of an instrument or an interactive experience that revolves around sound and human centered design.
Roey Tsemah, founder of Synthux Academy and teacher at Design Academy Eindhoven, explains how the shift to online teaching inspired this collaborative academic effort.
3 years ago no one would have dreamed of running a hackathon among 8 different academies, across 3 continents, and inviting the public to see the results. Today this isn’t such a far fetched idea. We’re all used to interacting with each other online, so I wanted to see if we could bridge between academic programs to learn from one another and connect professors and students around the world.
The idea spread among leading academic professors in the fields of industrial design, engineering and music technology. 8 academies were selected to participate and each will run their own, local, hackathon. The results will then be shared on a dedicated online gallery and discussed in an online conference on February 16-17 (tickets can be purchased here). Academies participating include: Princeton University, US // Design Academy Eindhoven, NL // Berlin University of the Arts, DE // Birmingham City University, UK // Betzalel Academy, Jerusalem, IL // Caragiale National University & Politehnica University of Bucharest, RO // Fontys University Eindhoven, NL // University of Colorado Boulder (ATLAS Institute), US.
Professional instrument designers also take part in the hackathon. From Look Mum No Computer to Tony Rolando of Make Noise. Students benefit from the professional feedback on their project, but also professionals gain valuable insights from seeing students’ fresh perspectives on the field of instrument design.
The idea of bridging the academic and professional worlds was always integrated in our academic courses, but got amplified in the last year. We started the Synth Design Podcast where we share interviews with professional designers and engineers, and we also use our Synthux Instragram channel to share micro lessons on synth design. The goal of all these efforts is to make interactive design and basic engineering skills more accessible. To invite artists and musicians to tinker with technology and express themselves by building their own instruments and interactive experiences.
You can follow Synthux Academy for future updates and join their Discord server to meet synth makers from around the globe:
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.