world's first musical instrument that makes sound from water
• Proven market success in waterparks, splash pads, beach areas,
civic centres, museums, and attractions all around the world!
• Also useful for rehabilitation, spa facilties, cancer treatment,
and in retirement homes (helps with arthritis, etc.).
• Appeals to (and brings together) people of all ages and backgrounds
through the universal media of water and music!
• Installed as the main centerpiece at Ontario Science Centre, an
important landmark architecture site:
Closeup shot of Ontario Science Centre hydraulophone,
showing how the instrument is played:
Here is a video of an early prototype:
- Invention title: Hydraulophone.
This is a new word coined by S. Mann, following correct Greek etymology.
Many musical instrument names are of Greek origin, e.g.
comes from "xylo" ("ξυλό") which means "wood",
and "phone" ("φωνο") which means "sound".
"Hydraulophone" ("υδραυλόφωνο") means "sound from pressurized liquid"
(i.e. hydraulics and sound).
- Summary explanation -- how it works:Licensed sellers and distributors of hydraulophones:
Other instruments (strings, percussion, wind) make sound from
vibrations in solid matter:
• Stringed instruments make sound from long slender ("1-dimensional")
• Percussion instrumnts make sound from flat membranes
(e.g. "2-dimensional" skins), or bulk solids ("3-dimensional");
• Wind instruments make sound from matter in its gas state.
Thus we have 3 categories that make sound from (1) Solid matter;
(2) Solid matter; and (3) Gas.
Something is missing from this "Solid, Solid, Gas" ontology!
So S. Mann invented not just one, but a whole new
family of many musical instruments that make sound from matter in its
liquid state, e.g. water, and named this category of instruments
Now, for the first time in human history, water has a "voice".
Listen to the above videos to hear what it sounds like.
There is already a well-established market for hydraulophones.
There are three licensees of S. Mann's hydraulophone inventions:
Presently C. Aimone has moved on to become the CTO (Chief Technology
Officer) at InteraXon and no longer has time to devote to
- http://Splashtones.com makes
and sells hydraulophones.
- WhiteWater West, world's largest manufacturer of aquatic
play equipment, and their subsidiary, SCS Interactive.
WhiteWater West has been purchasing the "innards" from S. Mann
and C. Aimone, which are made by hand at S. Mann's home, in
Mann's workshop space.
- Crystal Fountains.
There is a very large market for the product, as WhiteWater West wishes
to install hydraulophones in most of the waterparks and splash pads and
aquatic play areas around the world.
Above is a picture of one we installed in Legoland California. We
have similar installations at many other locations such as
African Lion Safari, Chicago Children's Museum, the
Experimentarium in Copenhagen, and the
CNIB to help with
rehabilitation of blind and deafblind children using hydraulic touch, as
With S. Mann's duties as a professor, he is not able to keep up with the
high demand for the product.
As a result, there is a great business opportunity here,
to create a manufacturing process and bring this product to market,
beyond the small number of hand-made units made at S. Mann's home.
Links to publications associated with the invention:
• Watershapes (non-technical magazine) article
• Nessie the Hydraulophone: A Water-Driven Musical Object for Children,
• Water jets as pixels: Water fountains as both sensors and displays
• Hyperacoustic instruments: Computer-controlled instruments that are not electrophones
(this paper also introduces another invention, the pagophone)
• User-interfaces based on the water-hammer effect: water-hammer piano as an interactive percussion surface
Patent applications filed or issued:
A number of patents are pending, or issued, such as:
US7,551,161, CA2499784, CA2517501 issued, and numerous others pending.
Due to the high market demand for the product, a large number of
infringing products began being installed throughout the world.
Patent infringement has been quickly and successfully defended against:
S. Mann. ats. Waterplay Solutions Corp., Statement of Claim issued in
a United States court.
Infringer complied by ceasing the sale of
infringing products before the matter went to trial in court.
Another musical instrument invention is the
Return to a list of some of Steve Mann inventions