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Startup Eternal Research Unveils the Demon Box, an Instrument That Turns Everyday Objects into Music

Image source: Eternal Research

Eternal Research, a startup "dedicated to new instruments," has announced the forthcoming launch of its first commercial product, the Demon Box. Set to debut in Autumn 2024, this instrument promises to unlock the hidden music within everyday objects by harnessing electromagnetic fields (EMF).

The Demon Box, developed by Eternal Research founders Alexandra Fierra and Bryn Nieboer, uses a proprietary system of inductors to translate EMF into sound, transforming the electromagnetic resonances of items like cell phones and hairdryers into actual musical compositions.

The Demon Box. Credit: Eternal Research

“The idea that new instruments have to be digital isn’t correct,” says Alexandra Fierra, inventor and musician, in a press release. “The analog world is not maxed out, even if the music is digital the experience of it, in the end, is analog. The pace of technological advance is always greater than the utilization of any one technology.”

Teaming up with musician and engineer Bryn Nieboer, Fierra refined the inductor-based instrument, culminating in a design developed in collaboration with Harvard’s Spatial Dynamics and software enhancements by Jordan Bortner, a programmer and music/video artist.

The naming stems from and inspired by the scientific concept of unexplained physical phenomena known as "demons," and the Demon Box itself was born after a decade of experimentation and creativity.

The Demon Box features a unique configuration of 33 inductors in a triangular field, translating EMF into three audio channels. “The three channels allow you to sculpt with panning, phasing and effects layering. Stereo is limited, but we can expand on stereo with more than two channels, making a more synaesthetic triphonic feeling-sound,” Bryn explains. “Each of the three channels can be modified with one dedicated aux in, with controls that allow the music maker to mix aux in and inductors independently for each channel.”

The instrument’s compatibility with existing audio setups, including mono-audio outputs, MIDI, USB-C, and stereo headphone jacks, ensures it can integrate into any musician's workflow.

The Demon Box. Credit: Eternal Research

“Our instruments are for people trying to experience new things,” Fierra says. “The Demon Box is an open palette, and I didn’t want my design decisions to limit people’s view. I wanted to keep the complexity and noise in plain view, so that they can experience these phenomena and realize that the noise can be a good thing. The chaos is the music, or the seed of all new music.”

The Demon Box can immediately respond to the efforts of someone new to music making, but it is fully featured enough for professionals to engage with it to spark new creativity.

“The music is already there, and you can hear it when you put a Demon Box next to fluorescent lighting or a TV or even a traditional synth,” Fierra notes. “This instrument lets us listen to the inherent music of the universe in new ways and expand our understanding of what is natural.”