The advances in 3D printing technology has already starting bringing some certifiably fascinating thing to the world of music.

First there was the customisable, fully-functioning guitars, the world’s first 3D printed records as an Instructables researcher and DIY project maker found a way to turn any mp3 into a 3D printed record, using Joy Divison’s songs  to demonstrate the new technique before the influential post-punk band’s iconic sleeve for Unknown Pleasures inspired some amazing 3D printed album art.

Now 3D printing has enabled some very creative minds to realise the end-point of a three-year project to create prosthetic musical instruments that are ‘played’ according to the movement of dancers that are wearing them.

As CNET reports, the bizarre collection of 3D printed musical prosthetic pieces were conceived and designed by two Music PHD students at the Input Devices and Music Interaction Lab (IDMIL) a division at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada that looks at relationships between technological developments with music and sound.

Under the tutelage of IDMIL director Marcelo Wadnerley, students Joseph Mallock and Ian Hattwick developed the prosthetic pieces in an effort to create a whole new generation of digital musical instruments that play sounds based on the way the dancers wearing them contort their bodies and perform gestures with their hands and posture.

Mallock and Hattwick worked with dancers, musicians, composers, and a choreographer for their musical project, spending three years creating instruments that were an extension of the human body, resulting in the sci-fi looking collection of LED pieces – which includes crafted spinal attachments, head visors, and rip cages made through the use of 3D printing and laser cutting.

Each prosthetic instrument is embedded with a number of sensors and wireless data transmitters that essentially translates the wearer’s movements and through to a peer-to-peer software system developed by IDMIL that turns the touch and actions of dancers into real time music.

The IDMIL students are still refining their work, but has already toured current versions of their prosthetics through their native Canada and across Europe in a production called Les Gestes (French for ‘actions’), which features two dancers and two musicians showcasing the newly 3D printing developed project.

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine