McDonald's in the Netherlands had an EDM surprise for customers on April 22nd.

The normal paper placemats that food is served on were replaced with mats they called McTracks.

They are paper placemats that have an incredibly thin circuit board printed into them, and conductive ink on their surface. When you download and install the McDonald's app on your smartphone, the mat can connect to your phone and basically act as a MIDI controller, allowing you to play the instruments and use the sampler included in the app.

Of course the placemat can only control the sounds that are included with the app, and it's hard to imagine them including anything that would be considered professional level samples or synthesis capabilities. But I guess it's better than spending your lunch break skimming Facebook.

Despite the obvious grossness of a huge multinational corporation like McDonald's co-opting EDM culture for marketing, I have to say that this is a pretty cool tech. But it just seems terribly wasteful. I'm sure many customers took the mats home with them, but certainly many were just thrown away by customers who had no interest in having a paper placemat MIDI controller.

And really, shouldn't McDonald's be putting it's massive resources into things like paying employees more than starvation wages, rather than developing (admittedly cool) paper placemat music making tech? I'd love to see this tech adopted/hacked by some real music makers, and maybe implemented in a way that doesn't reek of slimy youth pandering marketing, and isn't so damn wasteful.

H/T: YourEDM

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Chris Cox

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