We all know the guitar, the drums, and the bass. But do you know the Sea Board? The Theremin? Yeah, same here. (Well, some of us knew about the Theremin, but — you know—music nerds at every company.)
Below, three utterly unique musical performances unlike anything else you’ve heard:
Welcome the Sea Board: Roland Lamb at TEDxAlbertopolis
Imagine if the notes on a keyboard blended seamlessly into one another, more like a slide guitar than a piano. What you’d get is the Sea Board, a new organ/guitar/piano hybrid that produces a beautiful, haunting sound. If you think it sometimes sounds unsettling (and we’ll admit, we do), that’s because the player’s fingers linger “off-pitch” in a range of millitones between the notes that comprise the chromatic scale. Here, Roland Lamb, inventor of the Sea Board, narrates an eerie, fascinating performance.
The new old theremin: Lydia Kavina at TEDxGhent
When you watch a spooky ghost film, know what instrument often makes that eerie background music? A Theremin. It’s seriously one of the coolest instruments we’ve ever seen: you play it without even touching it. Musicians move their hands near two antennas, one for pitch and one for volume, and — voila! — music. In this performance at TEDxGhent, the undisputed queen of Theremin, Lydia Kavina, shows the instrument’s expressive power.
ComputeMusic(now): Andrew Sorensen at TEDxQUT
Can you code music? Andrew Sorenson sure can. He developed his own coding language to allow him to create music on the fly without pre-programmed software or external instruments — just algorithms. Above, you can watch the delightfully nerdy magic as he literally builds his song piece by piece, adding, subtracting and morphing layers of sound via code.
You’re smart. Possibly even brilliant. But we’re willing to bet that you’ve got nothing on these kids. (Believe us, we don’t either.)
See, these kids rule. They’re developing mathematical theories before they hit puberty, teaching computers to diagnose breast cancer, analyzing air pollutants, and finding ways to prevent carcinogens forming in grilled chicken. Because what else would you do in grade school?
So to give us all a little hope for the future — 5 TEDx talks from kids who are way smarter than the rest of us:
1. The 10-year-old Princeton student / astrophysicist: Jacob Barnett
At age two, boy genius Jacob Barnett was diagnosed with autism, and doctors told his parents he may never talk or learn. By age nine, not only could he talk and learn, he had already built a series of mathematical models that expanded Einstein’s theory of relativity. He’s funny and boisterous and totally freaking brilliant.
2. The girl who taught a computer to diagnose breast cancer … in middle school: Brittany Wenger
When most of us were cutting out pictures from magazines or stressing about soccer team tryouts, teen wunderkind Brittany Wegner was teaching a computer to diagnose breast cancer. That impressive feat required 600 hours of coding and 7.6 million trials, and has the potential to save millions of lives. So…NBD, really.
3. iPhone app developer … and 6th grader: Thomas Suarez
Most 12-year-olds love playing video games, but Thomas Suarez went a step beyond. He taught himself how to create them. After developing popular iPhone apps like “Bustin Jeiber,” a whack-a-mole game, Thomas is now using his skills to help other kids learn to become developers — that is, when he’s not hanging out with MakerBot co-founder and TED Fellow Bre Pettis.
4. The high school student who created a new way to detect cancer … before he could vote: Jack Andraka
While other kids were struggling to memorize the periodic table or master the structure of DNA, Jack Andraka was busy isolating proteins, reading research papers, and, you know, developing a test to detect pancreatic cancer: one that takes only 3 cents to run and runs at a nearly 100% accuracy rate. Kinda impressive, we think. .
5. Three girls who fight carcinogens, asthma, and chemotherapy resistance in their free time: Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose, Naomi Shah
Here’s a trio of science superstars for you: Lauren Hodge discovered how crafty cooking can stop carcinogenic compounds forming in grilled chicken; Shree Bose spent 12 years researching how cancer patients develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs; and Naomi Shah discovered new ways to approach asthma after analyzing indoor air pollutants, air quality, and lung health. Isn’t that what everyone does in their free time?