Here’s Something We Know You’ve Never Seen Before…

| 23rd Sep

The Halo Harp

Pretty cool wouldn’t you say!

This is Glasgow Universities unique and stunning Laser Halo Harp. An interactive musical instrument.

It was designed in 2014 by students in the Glasgow School of Art Product Design Engineering course and overseen by colleagues in Physics at the University of Glasgow for the International Year of Light 2015 event.

The Harp features lasers that when broken by touch, a musical note would sound, just like plucking a string on a real steel string harp.

Visitors were welcome to “play” the harp to experience the technology first-hand. Motion would trigger the soundscapes composed by sonic artists Louise Harris and Jane Stanley.

The project was to consider relationships between sound, light and colour, be they scientific, mathematical, physical or creative.

It was also considered that the possibilities of laser technology in instrument design, beyond the traditionally triggering of discrete pitched material. Rather, users will experience first-hand an innovative, creative application of laser technology.

Smoke is released from below the lasers to aid in making them visible. The effect is very striking.

So, this was the finished article, but let us show you what part Make Me Something Special had to play.

Our job as makers of engraved wooden gifts, were set the task of create the Halo Harp body. The trickiest thing was, the Halo had to be made from two identical halves, with internal channels carved out of the timber for the lasers and cabling to be hidden inside.

Not only did the halves have to be identical, but they had entrance and exit points for the lasers to be mounted so the beams would talk to each other from either side of the harp.

The halo harp was commissioned to be made from solid North American Cherry shown here, unfinished.

Like with our personalised chopping boards, the timber was selected by hand, planed and glued together in a press to create a sheet of solid timber. From here the first halo was cut. You will notice the halo also featured engraved lettering around the edge.

This was not an easy project! The timber was only 18mm thick and had a vast amount of internal carved channel work cut. This was going to hide all the necessary cabling to make the harp come to life.

Once two halves were cut we went about finishing them in the same way we finish all of our personalised wooden gifts. We sanded every edge until super smooth and finished the Halo using many coats of our favourite Liberon Superior Danish oil.

This might not look finish, but this was only coat two of the oiling process. The finished harp looked just stunning once it had been buffed and polished.

Cut with precision. The two halves matched perfectly. Like identical twins.

The finished result was fantastic. The colour and figure of the Cherry was beautiful. It was one of the best and craziest things I think we have ever made. It was so different to what we were used to making, but the principles were still there and approaching this was our usual eye for quality and rigorous attention to detail, the finished result was just awesome.


If you are interested in ordering a bespoke wooden product, then send us a message via our contact form or give us a call on 01252 703 196.

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