MusicalAid is a tangible system allowing people with different musical literacy and gross/fine motoric skills to play, explore and create music together, either guided by a predefined rhythm or in a normal ‘free play’ mode. The system is composed by a main unit and a set of ‘instruments’. Thanks to the MusicalAid technology all instruments can be automatically synchronized to play to the same rhythm and beat.

In the MusicalAid design the instruments do not sound by themselves, but rather send instructions to the main unit to play a specific note. The overall functionality can be described as follows: The main unit is Midi-based, has a speaker and plays a predefined and constant drum-based beat (e.g. in 4/4). The individual instruments communicate wirelessly to the main unit when they are played. The main unit receives these notifications and synchronizes the incoming signals to the current beat. In this way, all instruments always play synchronized and from a compositional perspective hence sounds good together.

MusicalAid is originally developed with adults on the autistic spectrum but enables a fun music experience for all, including older adults or simply someone who just like to jam. Specific ‘instruments’ has been designed allowing people with different resources and capabilities to play together.

MusicalAid is developed at ITU based on co-design work done in a collaborative project together with FoU Centrum – R&D Centre for health, care and social work, Linköping, Sweden. The project is still ongoing.