A dog orchestra, coding and STEM

Many dogs were pet during Beakerhead's 2015 Dog Orchestra (Credit: Jessica Lee)

Many dogs were pet during Beakerhead’s 2015 Dog Orchestra event (Credit: Jessica Lee)

Every year, Dr. Mary Anne Moser puts together a delightful smash-up of science and art in Calgary, Canada — Beakerhead. “Delight is reason enough to do things,” she says at TEDxCalgary.” It starts conversations; it starts relationships; it starts companies.”

In 2015, Beakerhead put together a very special event: a dog orchestra. Scientists, engineers and dog lovers worked together to code a program that would turn the act of petting a dog into a musical experience. They used MaKey MaKey, a kit for hacking everyday objects, to create safe, computer-connected conductive dog booties. With each pet from a passerby, a circuit was completed and a piano note produced.

A participant in the dog orchestra listens to the notes created (Credit: Jessica Lee)

A participant in the dog orchestra listens to the notes created (Credit: Jessica Lee)

13 dogs participated in the dog orchestra (Photo: Neil Zeller)

13 dogs participated in the dog orchestra (Photo: Neil Zeller)

The conductor of the dog orchestra, Jessica Lee, said the experiment was “wonderfully successful” at demonstrating Beakerhead’s mission “to use culture and entertainment to break down the barriers many people feel to science, engineering, and math.”

Dog lovers give pets to produce songs (Credit: Jessica Lee)

Dog lovers give pets to produce songs (Credit: Jessica Lee)

“We are hoping that the new playground of science, engineering and art that we’re creating will be a place where everyone can find their fullest potential,” Moser says.

To learn more, watch Moser’s whole talk below:

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