Your scalp is the drums, your hand is the bass: making music from the body’s bacteria


David Kong and his team are making music. But instead of sampling beats, they’re sampling bacteria.

“Music is one of the great universal languages of our human society. We thought this would be a really, really wonderful way to engage the broader public and get them excited about science through music,” said Kong, director of a new community biotechnology initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of EMW Bookstore, a community space Cambridge, Mass.

Their project is called Biota Beats, an artistic endeavor in which they translate bacterial data into hip-hop melodies.

The idea first came about in 2016, when Kong’s team at EMW was brainstorming ideas to enter into iGEM, a synthetic biology competition in Boston. They were talking about the microbiome, the collection of bacteria living in the human body, when a turntable caught someone’s attention.

The multidisciplinary group of artists, musicians, scientists, and engineers started asking themselves how they could combine bacteria with music. The result was Biota Beats — a composition in which different bacteria came to be represented by different instruments.

Although they didn’t win, the project lived on long after they entered the competition. Kong and his team built a youth program around Biota Beats and even collaborated with hip-hop artist DJ Jazzy Jeff.

This year, Kong and his team are back at iGEM, where more than 300 teams from all over the world gathered at Hynes Convention Center to present their research and compete for prizes.

This time, they’re not competing. Instead, they’re creating a song out of the bacteria sampled from this year’s participants. Their song debuted at the closing ceremony.


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To produce it, they collected bacteria from the competitors, with the teams from each continent assigned a body part to sample and one layer of the song.

Scalp bacteria from South America provided the percussion. Hand bacteria from Africa became a deep bass. Mouth bacteria from Europe turned into a jaunty, electronic melody. Ear bacteria from Asia gave the funky harmony, and nose bacteria from North America provided the atmospherics. Rounding out the composition was an energetic drum loop made out of elbow bacteria from Australia.

Combined, these bacterial beats became “Uni-Verse,” meaning “one song.”

“To me, it’s a really a poetic thing, because I think right now the world [has] got a very, kind of, divisive fractured kind of feeling to it,” Kong said.

“iGEM is such a wonderful example of a global community coming together around a love for science and around making the world a better place through biotechnology.”


Podcasting in school fieldtrip with Wade Roush

e6C8xpJxAre you interested in podcasting? Wade Roush, technology journalist, audio producer and host of the podcast Soonish will be visiting the WHS library to speak with students about how to get started with podcasting.  During this half day in school field trip you will learn the art of creating and producing distinctive audio podcasts. You’ll practice hands-on recording and editing to develop your own podcast with direction from podcaster, Wade Roush.  The  day will also include a tour of WinCam’s studio and use of WinCam equipment to interview veterans for a “Living History Project”. This workshop is limited to the first 20 students and requires a permission slip signed by your classroom teachers. Please see Ms. Zampitella or Mrs. Grace in the WHS Library.

Schedule of the day:

D Block: Introduction to Wade Roush

G Block: Trip to WinCam (pizza lunch provided)

E Block: Veterans arrive at WHS, students will break into pairs to spend a 1/2 hr interviewing for the Living History Project.

After school (or at another time) you may return to WinCam to edit and complete your podcast

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Augmented Reality workshop with Eric Klopfer- November 1st, 2017

2:30 pm- 3:30pm in CAD Lab


( Bio from Wikipedia) Eric Klopfer is a professor and Director of the SchellerTeacher Education Program and the Education Arcade at MIT. Klopfer’s research explores how educational technology, games, and computer simulations can be tools for teaching complex systems and developing cognitive and computational thinking skills. Klopfer and his research group developed StarLogo and App Inventor for Android and other Visual programming language platforms that build on the work of Seymour Papert and the Constructionism (learning theory) in education. He is also the principal investigator in the research and development of award-winning games designed for building understanding in science and math – connecting game play with scientific practice, problem-solving, and real world issues.


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Band uses delay from Facebook Live to loop a song and it’s incredible


Any time there’s a live streaming video, there will always be a little bit of delay in the feed. If you’ve ever been on a conference call, the short delay is noticeable enough to make things slightly awkward, but on services like Facebook Live, the delay can be multiple seconds.

Most people live with it, the band The Academic decided to embrace it.

Using the delayed audio and video from a Facebook Live, the band managed to create a loop version of their song “Bear Claws.” It’s a little easier to understand if you actually see it in action, but essentially, the band performs  for a Facebook Live feed that’s then projected behind them. They manage to sync up and perform with the same delayed feed a few seconds later, and as the song progresses, it gets more and more interesting.

“We rearranged each instrument on “Bear Claws” to fit Facebook Live’s delay, with each loop getting more complex, adding instruments, rhythms, and melodies. Additionally, by projecting the video live from a soundstage we created an infinite tunnel consisting of all the previously recorded loops,” the band explained on YouTube.

Probably the coolest way to create something new from a tech flaw.



MSLA Spotlight

Middlesex Partnerships for Youth PSA Contest – WHS made it to the TOP 5 Finalists.


password: sachem

PSA Title: The Will To Overcome

Teacher Advisors: Andrea Zampitella (Library/Media Specialist) and Kathleen
Grace( ITS Coordinator)

Winchester High School


Talent                                            Aria Bower

Talent                                            Deep Neogy

Talent                                            Ajay Jeyakumar

Talent                                            Hannah Serpa

Talent                                            Jack McPadden


Director                                        Ajay Jeyakumar

Videography, Editing

Production                                    Will Bicks

Production Assistant                     Daniel Kuang

Sound Design                               Luke Heckler