On November 29th Cillian McSweeney from Cork Ireland was joined by children from Bengala Branca school Guinea-Bissau for a remote music session via Skype. The large geographical separation between musicians is not the only reason this was a unique event; Cillian was playing the Bodhrán with his eyes! This event was a joint effort between Enable Ireland and Plan Ireland to mark International Day of People with Disability 2014 on Decemeber 3rd.
To play the Bodhrán Cillian’s own assistive technology (Windows based computer with eyegaze input) was supplemented with open source hardware and music software that allowed him to both compose beats and control various parameters of the playback in real time using his eyes. The physical playing of the Bodhrán was achieved using a range of solenoids and actuators controlled by a microprocessor. We’re calling it the RánBot!
As well as being fun this event is meant to highlight the theme of this year’s International Day of People with Disabilities which is Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology.