Just spotted the BoxBeat project on the MAKEzine blog. It’s a simple instrument that superimposes a percussion sound on your finger-tapping. I like the idea of creating instruments that you interact with indirectly (in this case through the table).
This video shows the prototype Beatbearing in action. Sounds are triggered by placing the ball bearings in the recesses. Unfortunately due to handling the steel ball bearings have become slightly rusty so they make a less reliable contact as a switch. Hopefully this can be remedied with the use of stainless steel bearings.
The BeatBearing mkII is now functional. It now has a sturdier construction, and uses a grid of 3×3 ball-bearings. A more developed software interface has been made (shown in the screenshot at the top) that allows the user to see the result of their actions on-screen. Currently the balls are being used to control MIDI patterns in ableton live, a video of this in action will follow shortly.
Have finished a very simple prototype of the “beat-bearing” interface. Ball-bearings are used to complete a circuit by being placed in the indentations. The aim is to create a tangible sequencer that will allow a user to construct a beat by placing the ball bearings on a grid of these indentations.
Given that the 3-ball prototype is too limited for use as a sequencer, it is currently being used to mute individual tracks in Ableton Live (drop the first ball in for a kick-drum and snare, second for the hi-hat, and third ball for the bassline). Even though it is limited it’s good fun to use.
The next stage will involve building one that has eight indentations which will allow for drum sequencing… (see diagram above)
Spotted in the Wire magazine a rumour that Toshio Awai’s Tenori-on interface was to go into production and may even be shipped (to the UK first?) sometime this month… You can download the 2006 NIME paper on the Tenori-on from here: http://hct.ece.ubc.ca/nime//2006/proc/nime2006_172.pdf
Have got hold of MsPinky vinyl and software. The time-coded record allows you to control a digital sound file, and has a low latency so even scratching’s possible. The plan is to use this as along with my AirScratch interface to create an uber-scratch-anywhere interface.
Bjork is using both a Reactable and a Lemur on her new tour, have a look above for a video of her on Jools Holland. The Reactable is a tangible user interface that allows multiple users to interact with a synth/sampler using small perspex blocks, and get visual feedback directly from a projection through the table. The lemur is also a multi-touch interface, although it is a lot more compact and you use your fingers to interact with it.