In creating an orchestra for the 21st century, iPhones are being used as musical instruments in a new course at the University of Michigan, Reuters reports. Students at the university are learning to design, build, and play instruments on their Apple Inc. smart phones, with a public performance planned for Dec. 9. The university said it believed the course, called Building a Mobile Phone Ensemble, is the world’s first. It is taught by Georg Essl, a computer scientist and musician who has worked on developing mobile phones and musical instruments. Essl and his colleagues began using the microphone as a wind sensor a few years ago, which has enabled iPhone apps such as the Ocarina, which essentially turns the phone into an ancient flute-like wind instrument. "The mobile phone is a very nice platform for exploring new forms of musical performance," Essl said in a statement. To build an instrument on an iPhone, Essl said, students program the device to play back information it receives from one of its multitude of sensors as sound…

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