SMU student uses 'musical fruit' to demystify computers

Marc Christensen, dean ad interim of the SMU's Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, talks about senior computer science student Christian Genco. Genco uses a MaKey MaKey kit from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to show the fun of figuring out technology.

By Laurie Fox

Christian Genco is on a mission to demystify computers one banana, lemon and pineapple at a time.

Genco, a senior at Southern Methodist University, has gained a following by playing his musical fruit everywhere from school campuses and TV studios to technology and science conferences.

Following his own curiosity, he sought out new technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called a MaKey MaKey that allows him to attach wires to edible items that elicit notes when he takes a bite. He has chomped out the national anthem, among other tunes.

But as much attention as the whimsical fruit project has attracted, it’s only part of Genco’s larger message: Technology can be fun, and you don’t have to be a computer science wizard to experiment with it....

Marc Christensen, SMU’s dean ad interim of the Lyle School of Engineering, said Genco is both a skilled presenter who plays to the crowd and a serious scientist.

“When you see a student rising to their potential with no end in sight, it’s very exciting,” he said. “College is about finding your path. He is an example of what can happen when you reach out and take advantage of it.

“Christian is a great ambassador who is blazing a trail. I can’t wait to see what he can do.”