Make music with every lick of your ice cream

Lickestra, an interactive project by two New York designers, creates musical notes when ice cream is licked.

Smack dab in the middle of summer, National Ice Cream Day is celebrated on every third Sundae (get it?) in July. And what better way to ring in the unofficial holiday than with some electric, or more like elicktric, tunes? That’s exactly what a pair of New York artists have done by developing an ice cream cone fitted with sensors that plays music each time the frozen dessert is licked.


The brainchild of Emilie Baltz and Carla Diana, Lickestra is a musical performance in which ice cream is used as the instrument. This is accomplished through embedding a 3D-printed cone with capacitive sensors. The ice cream sits within the cones and, when licked, causes the sensors to send an electronic signal to an attached Arduino board. From there, the Arduino feeds a computer on which a library of melody loops and beats is stored, which are emitted through the speakers.

“From improvisation to orchestration, the eater becomes performer as the primitive act of licking reaches beyond flavor perception to become an instrument for play,” its creators write.


The creative concept was initially conceived after Baltz and Diana began exploring the intersection of design around food, the human senses and objects with electronic behaviors. To bring the idea to fruition, the duo experimented as to which types of treats were the most conductive by hooking up alligator clips and checking conductivity. Ultimately, foods that required tongue contract proved the most promising and so ice cream was chosen as the medium.

Intrigued? Read up on last year’s project here, or simply watch Lickestra in action below!

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