Playing the blues is something you might not expect from a Scout (a Scout is cheerful, after all), but it’s the blues that helped inspire Scout Cameron R. to invent a device that might give anyone the chance to express themselves through the power of the blues.
The News-Dispatch shared the story of how Cameron’s invention, the “Blues-a-Tron,” is something he’s been working on for two years. As part of his Eagle Scout project, he has been working to set up the Blues-a-Tron as an exhibit at the Thinkery, a science museum, which will use the device to help teach children about science and music.
The device itself features a series of microcontrollers to project musical scales. It is played similar to the way one might play an optical theremin. By moving a hand or other objects at varying distances in front of the sensors of the device, it plays scales of notes.
In this fashion, someone who has no musical skill or knowledge of how to play something like a guitar or a piano could still play blues, jazz, or rock simply by waving a hand in front of the device.
“This is a way for people who can’t play music to play music,” Cameron said. “The first thing I thought was about children because they haven’t learned about music yet but they may like it.”
“I have to keep it simple enough so kids can improvise, but also complicated enough so it doesn’t sound terrible,” Cameron added.
His love of playing music extends back even longer than his career in Scouting. He started playing classical piano at the age of 5, but he had transitioned to playing the blues by the age of 12.
Combining his love of the blues and his love of Scouting has helped him make an impact on his local community through teaching children to appreciate science and music.
You can see Cameron play a prototype version of the Blues-a-Tron in this video.
To find more information about how Eagle Scouts can help to impact their communities in positive ways, see the study “Eagle Scouts: Merit Beyond the Badge.”