Light-up grids of buttons are nearly commonplace, but the BlipBox is something different: its array of lights is also a sensor, making it both X/Y controller and light-up grid. And it’s designed to be completely open — firmware, hardware, schematics and documentation are all fully GPL-licensed and open source.

For those of us who aren’t ninja coders, it’s also easy to customize, thanks to friendly software (pictured below) .k for making nifty interactive animations on its display and support for the artist-friendly Processing code environment. As the creators describe it, it’s three (three!) pieces of hardware in one:

  • a creative tool and musical instrument
  • a large, high definition x/y controller with visual feedback
  • a uniquely versatile MIDI and OSC controller

Lest you assume such oddities as this come only from non-musician hackers, these are designed by musicians. The project, built right in London, is available in fits and starts and stock becomes available, but a recent run was “Prices are GBP 140 for a complete ‘box with USB and MIDI interface, and 9v external power connection, in a black aluminium case with perspex side panels.” (To the team: apologies for giving you splashy publicity right as you have precisely none in stock. Readers, follow @cdmblogs on Twitter for updates. Or just follow their site:

BlipBox News

Side note: yes, we need to stop putting “blip” in the name of things. Guilty as charged. (I’ll be writing soon about the Blippo Box, which is … completely different.)

  • I'm not even 100% sure what I would do with this and I still want it. 

  • I want an 8×16 version.

  • And for £140, it's no wonder they can't keep them in stock.

  • tobamai

    Might just be that I've run out of coffee, but looks like you've got a bid of a word salad in your last paragraph, second sentence. Starts with "The project, built right in London, …"

  • Lu

    Look nicey!!!!!  But i agree with charles, 8×16 FTW

    what about:

    wish I had the money atm

  • Yes, more on the Blippoo, please.

  • You're probably not going to see 8×16 because they're using an existing LED matrix for this.

    Ooh, never mind. That is an existing LED matrix, but it looks like there is an 8×8 small and large version as well:&nbsp ; The 5×8 one is easy to get though, hadn't seen the 8×8 until now.

  • Chris Thorpe

    A 16×16 matrix would be perfect for that midi/OSC-controllable VCS3 you've always wanted to build