Dalit Shalom, Louis Minsky

Silophon is an assistive instrument/toy designed to create a positive experience of sound, specifically for children with autism. Silophon is designed to look like the classic xylophone, crafted with felt, allowing the user to play by hitting the keys with their hands or soft mallets, and also allowing the user to control the level of volume.


It is well known that some people on the spectrum of Autism are hypersensitive to sound. The characteristic of wanting full control can be very frustrating when it comes to situations with sound where often there is usually no control. Traumatic experiences with sounds as a child could evidently lead to not wanting to engage with music and sound as an adult. We believe that by creating an instrument/toy that will allow the child to control sound, combined with an engaging level of user experience may help break the potential friction between hypersensitive children with Autism and sound.

During the building of our prototype we met with professionals in the field of Occupational Therapy who specialize in working with children who have Austism. One of the most important things we learned were the key elements to successful design for autism: predictability, control and choice

As for fabrication, we experimented with a bunch of materials. Felt seemed to be a good material to work with for two primary reasons:

1. Felt is a relatively soft material, hopefully encouraging children with autism to engage with it.

2. Felt has a sound-proofing attribute, since it absorbs sound.

The sound played on each key is a xylophone sound, only digital with the ability to control the volume.

The felt pieces are mounted on wooden notes/keys.

For further information, description and photos please see:


Introduction to Physical Computing