Festival preview: Summer Bytes Festival, National Museum of Computing, Milton Keynes, until September 1 2013
Soundtracked by compositions of computer music made on the chronologically-opposing devices of BBC Micros and swish modern laptops, the opening weekend of this festival featured a two-year-old on a Korg synthesiser, a local mayor unimpressed by 1980s fashion and various showcases of modern and vintage computers.
A lot more is planned throughout the month. Games workshops can be booked online, and a daytime astronomy event, digital train sets, a LEGO controller and the increasingly hot new technology of 3-D printing are all part of the programme.
“The Squark-Duino is a two-feet high, bright yellow quaver-shaped instrument controlled by an Arduino microcontroller,” says Philip Catterall, a volunteer at the museum, introducing his highly unusual but well-received new computer instrument.
“It is triggered by a variety of sensors to produce musical sounds ranging from cello and organ to nine types of percussion.
“Several visiting teachers told me they were inspired to rethink their classroom projects involving Arduino. They are low-cost devices which can be used to make everyday objects do unusual things."
Learning Co-ordinator Chris Monk said the aim was to make computing history “vibrant and relevant”.
“We are constantly developing ways to demonstrate the huge advances that have been made,” he added.