Arduino Disability Orchestra is a university initiative that connects students, designers, engineers and makers to apply human centered design in the creation of musical instruments.
ADO, initially, was born when the student team “Lights On”, which I co-founded, met at the Techlab makerspace the "Vivere" Association. Vivere’s expertise is music therapy and they have a band of musicians with limited motory and cognitive capabilities.
From this liaison, we decided to share the knowledge of makers and designers from Techlab with Politecnico's in-the-making engineers in order to create electronic instruments for the disabled musicians of "Vivere".
Therefore we designed a hands-on course merging elements of music therapy, ergonomics and physical computing. We were basing the learning journey on the steps of human centered design: researching, ideating, prototyping, testing, iterating, implementing.
The student teams realised eight instruments that were custom-made for each musician, taking into account their motory capacity, musical and performance likings.
All the instruments are open source and documented, so they can be hacked and modified to be truly universal.
The initial project was supposed to be a two month workshop, but ended up becoming an open hub for enterprising young engineers, local designers and makers. Moreover, the ADO organisation continuously supports Phd students in their research.
The project gained the support of institutions like Politecnico di Torino, Fablab Torino and Arduino. It was officially presented at Munich Maker Faire 2016 as part of an initiative to showcase emerging Italian makers and entrepreneu