Nate Ball

Nate Ball has been imitating drum sounds since he was six years old. Also an avid jazz pianist, he takes a technician’s approach to beatboxing in service of his ferocious desire to push and explore the noisemaking capabilities of the human voice. Nate’s self-directed investigations have included the Estill method and Tuvan throat singing, and recently led him to Johns Hopkins university where he beatboxed inside of an fMRI. There, with researcher Charles Limb, he got to observe brain activation relating to language use vs. beatboxing, and what happens inside the brain when a beat is improvised.

At TEDMED 2011, Nate beatboxed while undergoing a live laryngoscopy onstage, with the video projected overhead to show the audience the inside of his larynx in real time. Through technology, collaboration, and self-awareness, he hopes to continually discover new possibilities for the creation of beauty with the human instrument.

Nate is also the host of the Emmy and Peabody award-winning PBS series Design Squad, and is a co-founder of the company Atlas Devices, which creates and supplies specialized access equipment to the U.S. Government—including a real-life version of Batman’s grappling setup.