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.

Arduino controlled DAC (& 303)

Robin Price
, a colleague in the SARC PhD lab (and co-conspirator in making acid-house & improv) has started a new blog documenting his work. Currently the blog shows his work on making an Arduino-controlled DAC, allowing you to send smooth (non-PWM) voltages into your 303, x0x-box, or other voltage controlled synth. The video demo is shown above, and the blog can be found here:

new C3Loops website

Rikard Lindell, creator of C3Loops has put up a new website with details of his C3Loops system here:

A video of C3Loops in action is shown above, and here’s some blurb on C3Loops from the website:

The C3LOOPS prototype was create in the resarch project Creative Activites Framework for Content Centric Interaction Techniques (ConCentric CRAFT or C3). The driving vision is that information content is the base for all interaction between users and the systems. I call this concept content centric interaction. Users conduct their activities in an unbroken creative flow.
Collaborating laptop musicians and video artists use C3LOOPS in real performance situations using monophonic touch screen or keyboard-and-mouse. The computer is a surface onto which all the user’s’ information content is visualised; the surface can extend to infinity like a magic paper. Surface interaction permits content centric computing, where content of different data type is moulded into blended media.

C3 Loops demo

One of the demos that stood out at the NordiCHI’08 conference was ‘C3 Loops’ by Rikard Lindell. I took some video of it in action and have just got round to editing it and getting it online. The interface is a single-point touch screen that allows users to navigate around a virtual plane playing both audio and visual clips. The corkscrew motion that you make to zoom in and out was particularly fun.
Rikard’s homepage is here:
This video is available on both Vimeo and Youtube.

Puppet Whispers – Live score improv

I performed yesterday in Chris Chong’s final MA piece “Puppet Whispers”. The performance involved 4 improvisers playing in a physically separated space, with only their shadows and a networked computer as communication. A video was taken of the performance, so rather than explain in detail now I’ll wait until the video has been uploaded.

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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!


This is the Emotoscope, made by Kenichi Okada. In his own words:

Emotoscope is a device that gives you an experience of missing time.

Recent digital recording devices such as digital cameras or video cameras make it possible for us to take thousands of pictures or videos with high quality image, but as much as it becomes convenient, we are losing the opportunity of looking at things more carefully.

For this reason, I sometimes use an analog film camera to shoot my everyday life and play the films with a projector. Every time I watch film, it gives me nostalgic and emotional feelings. Then I start to miss the moment that I was there. The experiences become very precious to me. Why couldn’t I see that the moment was precious to me? If I can see present time as if seeing past experience, how would I feel by that?

It is this engagement on the emotional level that I would like to explore further in my own designs of new musical instruments. Perhaps one way would be to superimpose record crackle and hum on top of day to day sounds?