Banging on lunchroom tables, the favored pastime of teenaged noisemakers everywhere, has just been brought into the 21st century courtesy of Bruno Zamborlin, a PhD student at Goldsmiths, University of London. Zamborlin’s creation, Mogees (short for "mosaicing gestural surface") allows a simple contact microphone and any hard surface to act as the trigger interface for a database of audio samples. Where it differs from more traditional trigger systems is that every time Mogees gets a new input (i.e., someone bangs, scratches, or rubs the connected surface) it scans its database and plays the most similar piece of audio it has access to. A finger swipe would trigger a different kind of sound than a slap, for instance, and gestures on metal would trigger different sounds than the same gestures on wood.
As far as triggers go, Mogees isn’t limited to just percussive hand gestures – the software can also handle other tools such as the coin in the video below, as well as old-fashioned vocals and acoustic instruments. The system isn't commercially available, but we're sure you could cobble one together easily enough with a contact mic, a laptop, and a couple thousand hours of computer research.