CCISD Student Invents Wearable Metronome

CCISD Student Invents Wearable Metronome for Beginner Musicians
Posted on 03/23/2021
Ella Schreiter and her metronomeLearning how to follow a conductor or “feeling the beat” of the music can be an extensive learning process for new musicians.

Brookside Intermediate student Ella Schreiter noticed this struggle in her first year playing percussion in the school’s band.

“In order for us to follow our conductor, we had to have older students come simply tap our shoulders to the beat of the conductor,” Schreiter explained. “I thought, ‘There has to be a better way to do this.’”

A metronome can help with the issue, but Schreiter imagined a more immersive experience to allow students to feel the beat, like a tap on the shoulder.

Her curiosity inspired the idea for a wearable metronome with two parts—a wand-like instrument for the conductor and a small device with a strap, worn on the arm of the musician. As the conductor moves his or her hand to direct the musician, the device vibrates to their movements.

Under the direction of a NASA engineer, Schreiter built a prototype for last year’s Science and Engineering Fair competition, which required her to learn to code, 3-D print, and assemble all the components together.

“I tested it out with four band directors and they all agreed that this would be a very beneficial learning tool for their students,” remarked Schreiter. “We are still working on developing it further, so we can use it in a school setting.”

Science and Research Teacher Tammie Labiche noticed Schreiter’s engineering spark early on.

“She is hardworking, however, when she has a question, she is humble. She will ask questions to get more information,” said Labiche. “Probably what is most impressive about her is she remains teachable and I know that she will be a great scientist in the future.”

In the 2021 Science Fair, Schreiter improved her design and built an additional 10 devices. Not only did she win first place in the Junior Electrical and Mechanical Engineering category, but she took home two other awards for her invention. Schreiter is the first student in CCISD Science Fair history to win a Grand Award.

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