I was shopping at a grocery. A bunch of avocados caught my eye. For months I had been tinkering of a perfect form and the mechanism for the musical instrument to help our ASD students destress. And there it was, sitting right in front of me! Instantly I knew the avocado would be a perfect shape for handling, its anatomy (with the seed removed) would give me the collapsible air chamber for housing the beads, and its flesh would be good for squeezing. And so the Avocado was born! A shaker like this could help our ASD students. It you squeeze it too hard, the air chamber will collapse and shaking it won’t make a sound. It’s almost as if the shaker is telling you, “Relax, if you want to be heard!”
I started designing Prototype I in earnest. The design had two half-shells made of polystyrene sandwiching the springs and the air chamber with beads inside. All the parts would be held together by a latex outer layer and I envisaged using a balloon for that.
This was the actual building of Prototype I. The head of an old toy hammer was used for the air chamber!
Encouraged by Prototype I, I tinkered with further ideas, such as adding a light and a resistor to indicate stress level when the instrument is squeezed.
I was not entirely satisfied with Prototype I, because the polystyrene shell was too rigid for squeezing. And in any event, given its two-dimensional sandwich structure, it could only be compressed in one direction. Therefore, I explored other materials for a more desirable effect. This led me to using soft sponges for the shell, and experimenting with different beads for sound effect.
This was the actual building of Prototype II which was subsequently used for the Second Summer Volunteers Outreach Program with ASD students. The results were encouraging.
I also invite you to read the following Blogs:
From Jamming to the Avocado
From Jamming to the Avocado A Short Narrative of My Musical Journey with those Affected by Autism Alvin Wong December 30, 2021 Introduction What is
December 30, 2021
Avocado – Design of the Second Prototype
Avocado – Design of the Second Prototype My vision of developing the Avocado came from my desire to build a percussion instrument that could help
September 12, 2022