Assistant professor and director of Buffalo State’s Digital Music Ensemble Created a Device That Can Be Used for Therapy
On his way to creating a digital accordion, SUNY Buffalo State assistant music professor J. Tomás Henriques stumbled upon a device with unique therapeutic applications that he envisions using to treat speech and hearing disorders and memory loss, among other things.
Called Sonik Spring, Henriques’ invention is a 15-inch metal spring resembling a Slinky toy that is outfitted with gyroscopes and accelerometers to capture three-dimensional motion and provide kinesthetic feedback. The Sonik Spring also transforms recorded sound as the user expands, compresses, twists, and bends it.
“It’s like making a sculpture only the recorded song or words are your clay,” said Henriques, who directs Buffalo State’s Digital Music Ensemble and oversees the Digital Music minor. “I realized what I had in hand could provide auditory and visual feedback (for the user) and would also work in other areas such as cognitive and physical therapy.”
This is not Henriques’ first invention. A few years ago, he created the Double Slide Controller, an electronic trombone-like instrument that won the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology’s 2010 Guthman Musical Instruments Competition.
One of the world’s foremost experts in electric and digital music, Henriques joined the Music Department faculty in spring 2009. Previously, Henriques taught for 13 years at the University of Lisbon in Portugal, his native country.
To see a demonstration of the Sonik Spring, visit http://cec.sonus.ca/econtact/14_4/henriques_sonikspring.html