Technologies: Software programming, CAD skills
Sector: Performing Arts; Leisure and Entertainment
Partner: LJMU (Faculty of Engineering and Technology)
Although it was only registered in January 2018, the original idea and development behind Wirral startup Arterfacts began in 2010, when founder and primary school teaching assistant, Tom Clarke was at university.
Arterfacts’ vision is to provide creative solutions to creative problems. Its first product, Noiseey, is a smart digital multi-music instrument that offers alternate methods for composing, reading and performing music. Using internet of things technology, the instrument combines unique graphic notation with an ability to play keyboard, string, percussion and wind instruments through an attached touch-screen and mouthpiece.
During the launch of Arterfacts, Tom discovered the Wirral Chamber of Commerce’s Wirral Enterprise Hub. Understanding his need for technical expertise, Enterprise Hub advisors connected him with the LCR 4.0 support programme. In turn, after exploring if a proof-of-concept for Noiseey could be developed, LCR 4.0 introduced him to Activate to develop a prototype.
The main barriers to developing Noiseey were the costs and expertise associated with its prototyping. Although Arterfacts could provide creative input, make product design choices and develop the business strategy, it didn’t have the software programming and CAD skills to develop an operating system and 3D models.
The programme saw Arterfacts work closely with the Faculty of Engineering and Technology via the Computer Science department to take the smart instrument from concept to reality. 3D printing software was used to create a prototype of the device in order to develop it further and make it as comfortable to use as possible. Arterfacts was also given access to software that enabled it run and develop the instrument’s digital operating system so that it could refine any functionality problems.
Through the work undertaken by Activate, the 3D printouts enabled Arterfacts to refine the ergonomics of the Noiseey device, ensuring that it was as comfortable as possible to use in a variety of scenarios. The software, meanwhile, has formed the basis for the device’s near-future development, providing a stable core experience.
Following the support received, Arterfacts is working towards an initial funding phase. This is made possible by the proof-of-concept that it was able to develop as a result. The company will also be developing a mobile-app to work alongside the instrument that will provide further creative elements, such as musical coaching and playing against friends in game-like scenarios.
Tom Clarke, founder of Arterfacts said: “Our mission at Arterfacts is to provide creative solutions for creative problems and, with support from Activate and LJMU, we’ve been able to do just that. The support has been invaluable and we wouldn’t have been able to get to where we are today without it. We’re incredibly lucky to have access to such a depth of talent in Merseyside, so Activate couldn’t be better placed to support regular folk with innovative ideas.”