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Musical innovation tends to happen at the nexus of experimentation, play and happy accidents. As one Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student explains in this video, the overdriven guitar fuzz sound that’s become so familiar in rock and blues was ‘discovered’ via a tech malfunction. Taking viewers inside the Voxel Lab at MIT, where students can pursue almost any idea at the intersection of music and engineering imaginable, the short film surveys several projects being built in the space. With their creations ranging from a marble-powered ‘Rube Goldberg music maker’ to a spiked, sound-generating electronic glove, participants are given the rare freedom to build new instruments and generate novel sounds – and, just maybe, stumble upon the next big thing in music.
Ecology and environmental sciences
The ancient Hawaiian myth that sparked a modern ecological breakthrough
‘Dun dun dun duuun!’ Why Beethoven’s Fifth sticks in the head and stirs the heart
The irreverent duo who thumbed their noses at the Soviet Union and the US art world
Computing and artificial intelligence
A scientist’s poor eyesight helped fuel a revolution in computer ‘vision’
Ageing and death
Demystifying death – a palliative care specialist’s practical guide to life’s end
Future of technology
Is this the future of space travel? Take a luxury ‘cruise’ across the solar system
Why mathematical truths exist with or without minds to consider them
Stories and literature
A French Creole folktale nearly lost to time is given new, gorgeously animated life
Food and drink
Is a ‘gastronomic society’ dinner the height of decadence, or an act of artistry?