Electroplankton inventor creates new musical instrument

I'm gaga about Electroplankton, the music making application for the Ninendo DS (I use it to make background music for videos, like this one.)

Now the creator of Electroplankton, Toshio Iwai, has a new handheld electronic instrument for Yamaha called the Tenori-On. It's beautiful looking.

Toshio Iwai Currently in the prototype phase, it consists of a 16 by 16 grid of LED buttons within a square aluminium frame about the same size as a lightpen tablet, and also contains two in-built speakers.

Holding this frame in one hand, Iwai demonstrated how the Tenori-On worked during the opening evening of last weekend's Futuresonic electronic musical festival in Manchester.

Each of Tenori-On's LED buttons can either be lightly strummed, sort of like a harp, or alternatively pressed down, whereby each button lights up. Musical notes are triggered by a regular line of light that moves from left to right, much like the sweeping line in PSP game Lumines.

Iwai has a blog about his new instrument. And here is Yamaha's site about the Tenori-On. You can hear samples of the instrument, which sounds a lot like Electroplankton. Link (Thanks, Chris!)

Reader comment: Olly Farshi says:

Quick update for you on the Electroplankton/Toshio Iwai talk at Futuresonic. A friend of mine, Maria Stukoff (a Media artist) also attended the talk with me, she made a recording of Toshio's Tenori-On performance (which was fantastic!) on her mobile. You can check out the video over here.