Hulk SMASH — now MIDI-compatible. By hacking a giant Hulk hands toy, AKA Media System has built a unique MIDI controller. Enough with wussy controllers, like waving around Wii remotes in the air: now you can hit stuff. Like your head.

This wasn’t a plug-and-play job: it involved some soldering to adapt the inner workings of the hands, made easier by some labels on the circuitry. Then, you need a way to get control data into the computer. AKA used the Create USB Interface or CUI; see some information and commentary here on CDM from last year. The Arduino board would work equally well if not better (and, as AKA notes, has more documentation). Via the CUI’s inputs, data from the hands can be fed into Max/MSP and either used in Max or output as MIDI. AKA used a Korg ES-1 for drum loops, but other hardware/software combinations would work (and certainly via the Arduino, you don’t necessarily need Max, though it’s a good option).

Excellent work, and if you felt like trying the same thing — or learning some techniques that could be applied to other toys — each step is carefully documented on Flickr:

HULK$MASH by AKA Media System [Flickr photoset]
Via the growing Create Digital Music Flickr pool

Got some DIY music hardware projects of your own? Be sure to join the CDMu and/or CDMo Flickr pool if you haven’t yet and upload new projects. We’ll have some new networking features for music and motion DIYers coming very soon, and I’d love to keep track of what you’re doing.

The software guts: patching in Cycling ’74’s Max/MSP software looks messy, but it’s an easy way to process data from controllers to make it useful to music and visual applications.
  • Sounds fun to actually use hulk's hands to generate a MIDI signal to make something sound. Actual creative applications of the device are yet to be seen. I have some crazy ideas now though.

    I'll write about it here in my blog: