Hybrid Music 6000 Sensor

The Hybrid Music 6000 Sensor was designed as a special needs educational tool where children could control the output of and make music with the Hybrid Music System simply by moving their body. This was achieved by some smart electronics inside the sensor that drives a piezoelectric sensor and the device plugs directly into the BBC Mircocomputer's Analogue port.

Hybrid Music 6000 Sensor

Due to the niche nature of the Hybrid 6000, Chris Jordan of Hybrid Technology has stated in e-mails that approximately 50 of these devices were ever made which makes them quite a rare device. Indeed, the Hybrid 6000 Sensor doesn't even appear in known price lists.

In recent years, I've identified at least four Hybrid 6000 devices still in existence, including this one.

How it works

All of the electronics for the Music 6000 Sensor reside in the head at the end of the flexible swan neck and the base merely acts as a counterbalance and stand. The sensor emits and receives an ultrasonic (50kHz) "beam" much like the way in which a bat uses sonar for locating itself in its spatial environment. The fluctuations in the sound beam that the sensor detects are then turned into audible tones by the software running on the BBC Microcomputer that controls the Hybrid Music 5000 Synthesiser.

The Hybrid 6000 Sensor in detail

The Hybrid 6000 in action

You can see the Hybrid 6000 working if you watch the video below. When I get the time and space, I'll be replacing this video with a better one showing off more of the Soundstage software and its capabilities.

As you can see from the video, any movements in front of the sensor makes a change to the pitch of the audio being output from the Hybrid Music 5000. When combined with a touch screen such as the Microvitec Touchtech 501, a fully interactive system using touch and movement can be implemented.

It was this sort of configuration that was deployed into schools for special needs children and specifically, it was incproporated into a Snoezelen room as one of the audio/video sensory therapy tools that was available.

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Hybrid 6000 Software

The Sound stage contains software used in special needs educational environments to work with the Hybrid Music system including the Soundstage, Soundspace, Soundscape and Soundstory suites.

Assistive Technology

The BBC Micro had hundreds of devices which were designed to augment the ways in which users could interact with their computer.

These devices were aimed at the special needs education market and two of them are in the Retro-Kit collection allowing movement and touch to become ways in which users could interact with the BBC Micro.