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gourd4If you are one of those people who are still wondering just how 3D printers can be used, you need to come out from under that rock you’ve been living under for the past 2 years, and open up your imagination. Over the past couple years, we have really begun to see artists, designers, engineers, and ‘makers’ show off their creative sides when using 3D printing technology?

gourd5We’ve finally broken away from the “Oh look, it’s a 3D printer, that’s so cool” phase, and into a phase where seeing a 3D printer in action no longer is anything all that special. Instead, it is the creations which come off of these machines which are now the things that make us stop and say, “Wow!”.

For one man, named Matt Pearson, you might define him as a designer, innovator, artist, and musician extraordinaire. He has come up with a really unique project, using 3D printing and a simple gourd.

Pearson, notes that gourds are actually the most ancient musical instrumental form, having been used within many cultures around the world as idiophones which are shaken or struck to create interesting vibrational sounds. His unique instruments, however, take a much more modern approach to creating music from these strange specimen of nature.

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“These digital gourds are instruments that use motion data to control digital sound parameters,” Pearson explains.”Inside the organic gourd form are motion sensors, which track the movement of the gourd, and a speaker, which amplifies those movements as digital music. The instruments are easy for non-musicians to pick up and play immediately, blurring the lines between audience and performer.”

Pearson used 3D scanning technology in order to help create the speaker parts within. 3D scanning allowed him to capture the unique curvature and shape of each individual gourd. Then many of the parts are 3D printed to fit perfectly within.

“The missing part of the gourd is ghosted back as an algorithmically-tessellated, 3D printed part, a digital re-formation of the section of the gourd that was lost in this new union,” he explains.

gourd2So what exactly is the purposes of these instruments? Pearson says that they are intended to allow for a social experience between the individuals who “play” the gourds. As movements are what drive the sound, quite a bit of experimentation can be exerted, and virtually anyone, no matter their musical experience, can play one. In the future, Pearson hopes to create a method of communication between the two gourds, allowing for the instruments to interact with each other.

What do you think about these gourd’acious instruments? Will we continue to see more and more creative thinking within the music industry, thanks to 3D printing technology? Discuss in the Gourd Instrument Forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below, showing these instruments in action

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