Interaction, Electronics, Fabrication

Twinklr was conceived by Richard Birkin. While composing music that featured a music box, he would have to punch holes in paper strips. This process was time consuming and error prone, so he contacted Creative Technologist Tom Armitage to see if it would be possible to create a digital interface for a crank-controlled instrument - retaining the feel of playing a music box, but making composition easier.

The first iteration of Twinkle was funded by D-Lab.
The second iteration (which you see here) was funded by Makerversity.


Instead of punching holes in paper as you do with a traditional music box, players enter notes onto a touchscreen. Twinklr makes it easy to write tunes in any scale or key, changing them at will - and any mistakes can be quickly corrected with a tap or two. Melodies can be saved into one of eight slots in the device.


Twinklr is built using computer-controlled techniques. Its case is fabricated from laser-cut ply and acrylic, designed in CAD software. Its interface is built around a Raspberry Pi and touchscreen, and connected using a custom-built circuit board.


Twinklr can also control any other MIDI-enabled device, opening up new ways to play existing instruments. For example, turning the handle of Twinklr can populate a sequencer with notes that can then be played an manipulated by a synthesiser.

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