This instrument is kind of like those old-fashioned echo chambers. Not sure how many of you would remember, but back before digital technology took off, to create an echo or reverb effect required a metal spring encased in metal. Sound was fed in, and then sound and reverberation came out. You hear this effect on a lot of classic rock records from the 70s and 80s. It is still used today in certain applications.
In this case, his room was the encasement. The instrument is big and can be played with a bow like a Chinese erhu on its most upright side, plucked on its longest part with the springs, and hit like a reverberating drum on the edges with round metal plates.
This huge invented instrument looks and sounds like something out of ‘Star Wars.’
I wouldn’t call this a totally new idea, but an expansion on an old technology which we haven’t seen used this way.