Working for your notes

How can today’s “Electronic Troubadour” musicians claim to be truly independent if they have to keep plugging into the corporate-and-establishment-controlled electricity power grid? Noah Vawter, PhD candidate and research assistant at the Computing Culture Group of MIT Media Lab, has created the concept of Exertion Music. The key point is that an electronic musical instrument could harvest its required electric power directly from the player – the musician will need to exert him/herself in order to power-up their battery-free instrument via an onboard generator. And the Physically Engaged Exertion Instruments described in Mr. Vawter’s PhD proposal might provide a way. For an example video of the prototype instruments in action see : Hey Jude Duet (Quicktime® .mov format)


Quite a few non-electronic musical devices might also fall into the category of Exertion Instruments – see for example :

Noah Vawter is also one of the co-authors of the now famous 2010 investigation: On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets.

For another human-power concept see : Implementing a knee-energy harvester (Improbable Research October 2011)