Culture Lab Visit + Waves VJ

I visited the Newcastle Culture Lab in Newcastle last week to work on a set of Cultural probes with Madeline Balaam as part of the PATINA project (more info about the probes on the PATINA blog!).
While I was there I was given a demo of the Waves VJ multitouch system by Jon Hook. It’s a synthesis based VJ system where multiple generative elements are added and combined to create complex 3D images. I was impressed by the ‘jog-roller’ on the left of the screen that lets you cue and play the synthesised patterns in time with the music. More info here and on Jon’s homepage.

video link: YouTube – Waves – Multi-Touch VJ Interface

David Merrill’s Siftables

Spotted David Merrill’s Siftables project in the New Scientist yesterday, then came across this talk he gave at TED. I like the idea of using the Siftables as a music controller/instrument, but I think too much functionality is being packed into each device. Perhaps the music-Siftables will get really interesting when each block is smaller and cheaper, so that you could use a few hundred of them at the same time.
Below is a video of just the music application:
Siftables Music Sequencer from Jeevan Kalanithi on Vimeo.

Rhythm Ring

The Rhythm Ring is an interesting project by Brian Yung & Hanson Jiang (of Cornell University) that was partly inspired by my BeatBearing project. In their own words:

“The Rhythm Ring interactive rhythm sequencer is an engaging musical device that enables the user to create a plethora of rhythms and beat patterns with the touch of their own fingers.
Besides being fun to play with, the Rhythm Ring provides a tangible method of arranging a musical rhythm. In our design, the user can arrange beats and modify them in real time by moving steel ball bearings between holes—a physical representation of notes on a musical staff. The Rhythm Ring continuously loops up to three tracks, each with its own voice. A central ring of LEDs provide the user with live feedback for current “playhead” position, and bright LEDs pulse when a note is played due to a detected bearing. The three tracks allow the playback of three different percussion sounds: snare, hi-hat, and bass drum.”

I’m really pleased that one of my projects has inspired another musical instrument to be designed and built. If anyone else is doing anything similar, then please get in touch!