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Ruby on Bells: The Ruby-Powered Musical Glass Playing Machine

By Peter Cooper / July 29, 2008

Ruby on Bells is a demo of the Madrona fork of RAD (Ruby Arduino Development) itself a Ruby bridge to Arduino, an open source electronics prototyping platform. Powered by a simple Ruby script, a set of glasses are hit by small mallets on servos, resulting in a Philip Glass-esque cacophony. It's a compelling demo, and if physical computing intrigues you, the tools available to Ruby and Arduino developers are now mature enough to bring interesting results within easy reach.

A longer "behind the scenes" video explaining how it was put together and how the code looks is also available. The code used is a very simple Ruby-based DSL. Couple this with Giles Bowkett's MIDI generator and you could have a lot of fun.


  1. Giles Bowkett says:

    Hey Peter - the link to my MIDI stuff actually goes to a relatively simple MIDI experiment I made in 2005. Here are some 2008 links:



    demented mutterings:

    Actually having dug through all these there's really no one definitive info source for Archaeopteryx. I'm planning to fix that soon, but for now, that's a ton of links.

    Fair warning the code is a bit of a mess. Expect cleanup after Burning Man. (Expect simplest use-case solution for generating original melody and harmony *before* Burning Man, based extensively on Jeremy Voorhis' music.rb.)

    I'm actually also doing a presentation on Archaeopteryx in San Francisco *tonight* (, just did one at RubyFringe in Toronto which will have video on InfoQ soon, recently did one at sd.rb in San Diego, and will be doing two more at Ruby Hoedown next weekend and RubyNation this weekend (in Alabama and Virginia).

    And I was just re-doing some beat-juggler and rhythm-generator stuff to make Archaeopteryx a little more smooth for the demo tonight.

    Now I will attempt to catch up on sleep before driving to San Francisco. :-)

  2. Diego Guillen says:

    Hey, it's samba !!! Vamos tudos sambar !!!
    Ruby + Arduino ... matching two very promising technologies.

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