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Music

How To Make Noisy Jelly Game Pieces

A game that lets you control synthetic sounds using molded gelatin.
27 March 2012, 6:35pm

If there’s one complaint that both kids and adults share, it’s that their dessert isn’t loud enough. While you spend the next few moments pursing your lips and nodding knowingly in agreement with that statement, allow us to relate a solution.

Noisy Jelly is a board game in which the gelatinous game pieces make different musical sounds depending on where they are placed on the board. There are undoubtedly more rules to this game, but few players can get past the novelty of jelly instruments and actually sort out how to play.

Raphaël Pluvinage and Marianne Cauvard, the game’s creators, used Arduino and Max/MSP to create a simple board environment that acts as a capacative sensor, reacting differently to each shape and the salt concentration in each gelatin solution. The board is also space and pressure sensitive, causing variations in sound depending on how hard you press the gelatin.

Explaining this to the kids playing it will either spark their curiosity for physics, making you responsible for positively influencing the next generation of scientists, or ruin the magic for them and make them hate you. That decision is a whole ‘nother challenge. It’s like a game within a game!

Right now, Noisy Jelly is just a prototype, but it’s an awesome one and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it on shelves some time soon. In the meantime, let’s go through the steps of how the game is played so that, when it is available, you can dive right in. If you love this idea so much that you want to build it from scratch yourself, we sincerely hope you’re a professional, or there is going to be noise and gelatin fragments everywhere.

For this, you’ll just need the Noisy Jelly kit and a childlike fascination with sound. If you’ve only got the fascination, then play with this rubber band. Here. See? You’re just as entertained. But if you do have the kit, then start here.

Open up the wooden case and pour some jelly powder into the differently shaped molds.

Add water to the molds.

Add a musical coloring to the mixture. Your options are melody, bass, scratch, and “son.” That last option confuses us because we don’t speak French, but we ain’t lettin’ that stop us, son.

Mix vigorously, i.e. with great amounts of vigor. Ah, that was too much vigor. Start over.

Allow ten minutes for the gelatin to set before removing the molds. If you’re an adult, sit and wait patiently. If you’re a kid, spin around in circles until you fall over.

Once your jelly game pieces are ready, place them on the board and poke each one from all angles to test out their range of sound.

The last step is not to eat the gelatin. Everyone’s been touching it and who knows where their hands have been. Plus who knows what it tastes like. Oh, you haven’t had breakfast yet? Alright, go ahead and eat it.

Visit Raphaël Pluvinage’s Flickr page for more photos of the game pieces and kit.