Andrew Doro
Lesley Flanigan

Plink Jet

Plink Jet is a robotic musical instrument made from scavenged ink jet printers.

Media Change,New Interfaces for Musical Expression,Project Development Studio (Danny)

Plink Jet is a robotic musical instrument made from scavenged ink jet printers. The mechanical parts of four printers are diverted from their original function, re-contextualizing the relatively high-tech mechanisms of this typically banal appliance into a ludic musical performance. Motorized, sliding ink cartridges and plucking mechanisms play four guitar strings by manipulating both pitch and strumming patterns like human hands fingering, fretting, and strumming a guitar. Plink Jet is designed to play itself, be played, or both. The result is an optionally collaborative performance between both the user and Plink Jet, with the user choosing varying levels of manual control over the different cartridges (fretting) and string plucking speeds (strumming).

The repurposing of consumer technology is a growing trend for artists and technologists in the DIY genre exploring circuit bending, hardware hacking and retro-engineering.

Music lovers, people who love robots.

User Scenario
The user can control the back and forth motion of four inkjet cartridges to control fretting, as well as plucking speeds and patterns. The user can also choose to automate carriages and choose between six different pre-programmed movements. The user is thus allowed to improvise with Plink Jet, or have it play entirely automatically.

The carriages of four inkjet printers are embedded in a wooden base and outfitted with guitar strings. The motors of these carriages are controlled with switches. Automation is programmed into a micro-controller.