Vibraphone Modulator, Created in the Tavel Center Awarded United States Patent


The Vibraphone Modulator was conceived by Scott Deal at the Tavel Center, IUPUI. Joining Deal in the project was a team of professors and graduate students in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology that included Electrical and Computing Engineering Professors Maher Rizkalla, and Ph.D. Paul Salama, Ph.D.; and graduate students Parth Gohel, and Kevin Galler. The Vibraphone Modulator was awarded a United States Patent in 2021. PAS Hall of Famer Rusty Burge demonstrates and discusses the devices use in vibraphone performance. The Vibraphone Modulator a gesture sensor-controller that modulates the speed of the vibrato mechanism on the vibraphone, a musical instrument in the percussion family. The Vibraphone Modulators comprised of a motion sensing mechanism that feeds data to data processing and machine learning (ML) algorithms that control motor attached to the vibraphone. This motor then turns modulating caps over the resonators of the vibraphone, creating a distinct aural resonance from the instrument. The Vibraphone Modulator enables musicians to alter the speed of the vibraphone motor without having to stop playing in order to turn a nob underneath the instrument. By providing a hands-free device to modulate the variable speed motor on a vibraphone, the musician is empowered to explore entirely new expressive musical territory. The core of the innovation is centered upon creating a highly accurate and simple to operate gesture sensor-controller that will be used for nuanced body movements as they relate to setting a function in motion.

View the Vibraphone Modulator in action