The Abacusynth, a Student-Built Synth Inspired by Abacus
The abacus, an old mathematical tool, has been turned into a new synthesizer called the Abacusynth. Student, Elias Jarzombek, a musician-turned-programmer, has created a synth with a twist: the Abacusynth is designed to be used in the same way as an abacus, but it produces sounds rather than numbers.
Jarzombek adds that his wooden creation, the Abacusynth, is a synthesizer inspired by an abacus, the ancient counting device used globally. Similar to how an abacus is used to study the principles of mathematics, the Abacusynth can be used to investigate the fundamentals of audio synthesis. It appears in both digital and physical forms, with the same fundamental interaction: placing and manipulating shapes on rods.
From the outside, the device appears to be something that would result if an abacus, an arcade cabinet, and a rotisserie grill were all created out of wood and then crossed with one another. The curved pillars that make up this structure carry four horizontal rods onto which triangular blocks have been positioned. LEDs, a speaker grille, and a knob can be seen on the console that is located at the bottom.