Posted in communication and networking, museum, music

Japanese Tech Art

As featured on GadgetLab:

Robotic art from Japan twitches, winks, blinks and makes music at the Gadget OK! exhibition, which runs through March 4 at UCLA. Subtitled “Device Art in Japan,” the show features an array of “nonsense machines” including Guitar-La, pictured above, from Japanese toy/art/music outfit Maywa Denki.

Lead designer Novmichi Tosa arrayed six acoustic guitars vertically on a stand and rigged the instruments to a vintage pedal organ. The keyboard sends signals to hammers that mechanically pluck the guitar strings when activated.

Gadget OK! also showcases the Otamatone toy (demonstration in an embedded video after the jump) — which is wildly popular in Japan and takes theremin and bagpipe principles to a whole new level of silliness. Designed by Tosa and Cube Works, and named after the Japanese term for tadpole, the oddball instrument can be played by squishing its “tail” and opening its “mouth” to produce wah-wah, glissando and vibrato effects.

Read more, and see the art in action!



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.