The International Synth Design Hackathon 2023

James Bolt one of the AIM CDT 2022 cohort student won the Synth Design Hackathon and was invited to present the project (video below) at Superbooth in Berlin (Germany).

FranKnitStein – A repurposed sewing machine for ambient sound production by James Bolt (AIM CDT) in collaboration with Teodoro Dannemann (MAT CDT) was one of two winners in the Synth Design Hackathon back in February.

The project utilised a hand cranked sewing machine and a mechanical hand. The main aim was to use as many of the mechanical motions of the sewing machine as possible. The addition of a mechanical hand not only added to the visual interest but also provided a different playing style.

James and Teo added three main sound producing techniques all linked to the motion of the sewing machine.

More information and a video of the instrument at

FranKnitStein // Synthesizer by James Bolt + Teodoro Dannemann + // Synthux Academy


HiTAR bags third prize at 25th Guthman Musical Instrument Competition

AIM student Andrea Martelloni won third prize at the 25th Guthman Musical Instrument Competition held at Georgia Tech, Atlanta on 11th March 2023!

Andrea presented the HITar, an augmented guitar supporting percussive playing with the help of a DNN gesture classifier and physical modelling synthesis provided by PRISM Labs’s MetaSynth. The project was supervised by Dr Mathieu Barthet and Prof Andrew McPherson. The HiTAR is an augmented instrument that uses an acoustic guitar as its base and has embedded sensors to capture a performer’s gestures and hits. The body of the guitar and the captured gestures of the player are connected using machine learning, and the sound from striking the body is transformed to resemble sounds on different surfaces like metal or glass. This allows the performer to organically explore additional gestures and sounds to accompany the traditional guitar performance.

Also present at the competition finals was C4DM’s Lia Mice with her Chaos Bells, a large instrument she designed with Andrew McPherson during her Media and Arts Technology PhD.

The Guthman Musical Instrument Competition was initially designed to identify the next generation of musical instrumentalists, It has turned into one of the only competitions and events dedicated to identifying next-generation musical instruments and the best new ideas in musicality, design, and engineering. It is hosted by the School of Music at Georgia Tech, Atlanta-USA. This year’s Guthman Musical Instrument Competition featured nine finalists from six countries and the result is an event that exposes new technologies and novel ideas to a community of musicians who are natural experimenters.

You can see the video presentation of the HITar here, and you can watch the public performance of all the contestants on Georgia Tech’s YouTube channel.

DMRN 2022

The AIM 2021 cohort will be organising the Digital Music Research Network (DMRN) 2022 workshop on 20th December 2022. The workshop is hosted at QMUL on an annual basis by the Centre for Digital Music and aims to promote research in Digital Music by bringing together researchers from academia and industry in electronics engineering, computer science, and music.

The workshop will include a keynote talk by Dr. Sander Dieleman on generative modelling and iterative refinement. Submission of abstracts for talks or posters are open until 20th November.

If you are a possible AIM CDT 2023 applicant, you are welcome to come and talk to us on the event (contact us for registration). For more details, please refer to the relevant website .