I was asked to help on a project that was participating at the Microsoft Imagine Cup. It was a game that allowed children with disabilities to make music. I’ve been playing the guitar for almost 10 years now and I did my undergrad in Computer Science and Music and I was also involved in music therapy sessions, so it was a perfect match. We won the local finals of the competition and we represented Ireland at the world finals in Poland. It was an amazing experience, as we really believed in the project and what we could accomplish.

The game was controlled by a SoundBeam: it would emit a sonar wave and pickup movement in front of it. Based on the distance from the origin of the beam, we would trigger a sound and some particles on the screen. I basically worked like a big invisible keyboard. There were two modes: in the free mode you could play sounds and trigger visuals on the screen; in the rhythm mode there were notes scrolling on the screen and you would need to move to match the incoming sound. There were also different themes and sound sets to play with.

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My role in particular was to develop a recording/playback feature that would allow children to record a piece and later replay it, share it with other people or use it as a base for another composition.

Here is some press coverage:

And here’s the presentation we gave at the world finals:

Thoughts, suggestions, criticism? Let me know!