Anything relating to bananas is always ripe for puns (see?), but a story last week about how two students at one of the world’s leading technology schools turned fruit, milk, cats and even themselves into musical instruments turned out to have a really serious point.
Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, both students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed a way to use alligator clips, a circuit board and a USB cable to turn everyday objects into musical instruments.
Using the ‘MakeyMakey’ board, the pair managed to create a banana keyboard. It all seems highly amusing, but so what?
At a basic level, it’s another brilliant example of how creativity and a willingness to see what happens can lead to something which is, at the very least, really interesting and which has never been done before.
But, other than providing an amusing use for a fruit bowl which may otherwise go untouched until the fruit’s gone bad, the innovation has already been adopted by one father who is turning the kit into a computer interface for his son, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
There’s a lot said about the need to interest young people in technology, programming and mathematics. Slightly off-the-wall uses of basic kit are a brilliant way to do that and there’s no reason why homemade innovations like this, with the right kind of guidance, can’t become leading technologies in a range of different fields.
In our own field of expertise, we’re taking advantage of existing automated meter reading (AMR) technology to collect meter read consumption data from our customers. Our experts then analyse the data and work with customers to tackle any problems with water supply that it reveals, potentially spotting leaks or problems as soon as they occur.
There’s a reason why it’s often said there’s no point in reinventing the wheel. It might be a cliché, but doing new things well with existing technology – even if that’s making music with bananas – holds no small measure of a-peel.
If you’ve seen any great examples of this (or just want to share dreadful fruit puns), tell us more about it in the comment box below.