3D Printing

Leveraging MIDI to Allow Amputees to Play Music with Rick Williams | 3D Universe Untethered Episode 29



On this episode of 3D Universe Untethered, we sit down with Rick Williams, a long-time e-NABLE Volunteer and an expert musician who has been serving to amputees and people with congenital limb variations to have the ability to expertise the enjoyment of enjoying music through the use of a mixture of personalized devices, custom-made prosthetic units, and the MIDI protocol.

Rick developed these methods for himself after he suffered a horrific accident that severed his hand (which was fortunately capable of be re-attached).

Rick shares how he’s incorporating MIDI into 3D-printed assistive units in addition to another private initiatives he has been engaged on.


Rick’s Accident

Rick shares concerning the accident that severed his hand.

It was an absolute freak accident. There was a tough drive that was caught in one of many outdated (pc) gigantic steel instances. It was rusted in or one thing and simply wouldn’t come out. So I’m pulling on it and pulling on it, and it wouldn’t let go. Lastly, the drive let go, and so they don’t roll the perimeters of the steel case anymore; within the outdated days, they rolled them. Nicely, it severed my hand, tendons, arteries, the whole lot. They mentioned I solely had 5 extra minutes to reside as a result of I used to be bleeding out.

He goes on to elucidate, “Curiously sufficient, I requested Amazon Alexa to name my spouse as a result of I used to be simply going to inform her goodbye as a result of I knew I used to be slipping. She received on the cellphone, and it was loopy she even had her cellphone as a result of usually at work she isn’t allowed to have it. She known as the neighbor and advised them to get in the home it doesn’t matter what. They got here in and located me and took me to the hospital, and so they reattached my hand. The reattachment, I can’t complain; it’s higher than nothing. As a musician, that could be a massive factor to lose.”

Rick performs 12 devices and dealing on studying a thirteenth, so music has been an enormous a part of his life. It helped him pay his means by school; he’s been in quite a few bands and has carried out studio work as nicely.

Because of his spouse, who refused to let the surgeons amputate his hand that day, he was by some means capable of lastly get some feeling again and begin experimenting with different methods to make music occur, not only for himself, however for amputees who believed there was no means they might be capable to play music once more.

He shares, “I wasn’t able to stop.


Using MIDI to make music with Rick Williams and his various instruments

After refusing to surrender hope and getting some feeling again into his personal hand, Rick is now working with the amputee group to assist create musical devices that use the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) protocol and permits them to find and rediscover abilities they thought weren’t attainable resulting from a limb distinction.

Let’s face it, MIDI has been the holy grail for the reason that 80s,” explains Rick.

For these that aren’t acquainted, MIDI is a protocol that has principally been used for music. It permits digital devices and numerous different digital musical instruments to speak with one another. MIDI by itself doesn’t make any sound. It simply generates a collection of messages like “steady controller,” “word on,” “word off,” “patch change,” “pitch bend,” and extra. The messages are then interpreted by a MIDI instrument to provide the specified sound. A MIDI instrument generally is a piece of {hardware} like an digital guitar, keyboard, or synthesizer or a part of a software program atmosphere like Garageband, Digital Performer, or Logic Professional, for instance.

From creating the aptly named “sh*t-tar” from a bedpan, a guitar made out of a shovel, and rather more, to serving to a younger musician play drums and different devices through the use of MIDI, Rick has grow to be a godsend to those that have limb variations and wish to play music.

Rick doesn’t simply cease at serving to with musical devices, nevertheless. He additionally helps to design new 3D printed prosthetics for the e-NABLE group and continues giving his time to make a distinction.

Please take the time to look at the video beneath to see among the unimaginable and distinctive work Rick has been doing for the previous 5 years, or take heed to his story on our podcast.


Rick Williams – Leveraging MIDI to Allow Amputees to Play Music | Video

The video for Episode 29 of 3D Universe Untethered is reside on YouTube for people who desire to look at and study Rick’s work. You’ll find the hyperlink to the video right here.

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For these of you preferring to sit down again and pay attention when you navigate your life, you possibly can try the 3D Universe Untethered podcast of this episode right here or utilizing the participant beneath.


Extra Details about e-NABLE

To be taught extra concerning the e-NABLE volunteer group, the place volunteers world wide are serving to to offer assistive units (usually 3D printed) to individuals in underserved communities, go to: http://enablingthefuture.org/

To hitch the dialogue or become involved, try the e-NABLE Hub at https://hub.e-nable.org/

To get in contact with Rick about his work, you possibly can ship him a non-public message on the e-NABLE Hub, or you possibly can e mail the e-NABLE assist desk at assist@e-nable.org.

For extra 3D Universe Untethered episodes, go to https://3duniverseuntethered.com/ and for episodes devoted to new 3D printed e-NABLE units, please try episode 6 with Mat Bowtell and episode 15 with Mike Larson!

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