Creating a physical intelligent musical instrument with the Bela single-board computer

Picture of Charles Martin

18 Oct 2023

An embodied intelligent musical instrument

The idea of this project is to create an intelligent musical instrument that can predict human musical interactions to help them create music. This work involves encapsulating machine learning models of creative interaction into a playable instrument.

The challenge here is not just to create a ML model, but to build it into an interactive system that might be useful for a musician or just a curious and creative human!

As part of this project, you will conceptualise, create, and evaluate a musical system. You’ll need to be comfortable learning new languages and should enjoy working with physical hardware. It would be advantageous to have taken Sound and Music Computing.

One focus of this project is to use Bela, an embedded computer for interactive art based on the Beaglebone platform that has been used for many creative new musical systems.

You can take inspiration from some of our previous intelligent musical instruments that you can see here.

For an Honours/master project we would expect you to create a working prototype that includes an ML model and enables interactive sound or music to be created. You would need to complete some type of formal evaluation. This project could also be the basis of a wider PhD project.

Please read information about joining the Sound, Music, and Creative Computing Lab before applying for this project.

How to Apply

To apply for this project, contact Charles Martin.


  • your CV
  • your unofficial transcript (if you are an ANU student)
  • a brief statement (200 words) in your email explaining how you would approach this project

Make sure to specify the skills and accomplishments you have that would help you to complete this project.

Useful Papers and Resources:

You are on Aboriginal land.

The Australian National University acknowledges, celebrates and pays our respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work, and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

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