Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing

16 November

BYO at Norwich Castle yesterday was a big success! We made ourselves quite at home in the Maker’s Space and met some fantastic visitors who were all very keen to try out our interactive pieces, with some highly-positive results!

Overview of our Workspace:

Drawdio Musical Pencil:


The Drawdio pencil is a small sound synthesizer mounted onto a graphite pencil (graphite conducts electricity) which plays musical tones as you write or draw. In the process of producing these sounds, the pencil uses your body as a resistor, sending a whopping 3 volts straight through you in order to complete the electrical circuit. And if you join hands with the person next to you, they also become part of the resistive loop meaning you can all create sounds together! Just check out these guys in action:

What’s interesting is that the tone and pitch of the sounds vary from person to person (depending on the electricity current already present in your body). Water is a great conductor of electricity too, so the sweatier your hands are whilst you hold the pencil, the louder the tone will be!

If you’d like to learn more about (or even create your own!) Drawdio pencil, click here:

Tape Head Pen Reader:



Can you imagine taking a tape-reader out of a cassette tape, turning it into a pen and playing the tape externally (in a manner not dissimilar to playing a violin)? No? Well then you’re in luck because we did it for you – our second sound piece was a tape head pen reader conceptualised by Mike:

This was again a very popular piece and many of our visitors young and old were keen to try it out:

The suspended tape was visually very appealing also, and in hindsight subtly reminiscent of Monika Grzymala’s tape installations.

Alongside the sound pieces were Elizabeth’s BYO display pieces including Macramé records and a sewn replica of a smashed mobile phone, both of which were popular and excellent conversation starters on the concept of play/exploration (more thoughts on that here).

sewn replica of a smashed mobile phone
Macramé Record

All in all a very successful day, and we’d like to say a massive thank you to all of you awesome visitors who took part in our demonstrations!

And to end, here’s a picture of the mighty R&S in action:

Ridge & Scrase