Rappers who wear grills, a gold or platinum piece of jewellery that sits on their teeth, can now have bling that sings. Aisen Chacin, an artist at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, has created Play-A-Grill, which turns the jewellery into a tongue-controlled MP3 player.
Play-A-Grill uses bone conduction to play sounds, with vibrations on the teeth being passed to the ear drum through the skull. The idea has been suggested before, in the form of a false tooth, but Chacin wanted to make something more fashionable.
She embedded a vibrating motor connected to the headphone jack of an MP3 player inside a mould of her mouth, with the player's controls facing downwards so they could be manipulated with the tongue. The vibration of the motor was strong enough for her to hear the music through her skull, though controlling the MP3 player with her tongue proved more difficult. If the music is loud enough, the palate acts as a resonator and others nearby can hear sound coming from the wearer's mouth.
"The Play-A-Grill attempts to provide a display that challenges our perception of listening, altering the body's natural sound output and relocating as an input," Chacin says. She presented the work at the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan, last week.