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Here are two new ways of combining a synth with Arduino

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten not just one, but two new synthesizers that piggy-back on the Arduino electronics platform. The result, then, is instruments that you can modify via Arduino code. You’ll need an Arduino for each of these to work, so figure on adding some bucks to the purchase price. (I also recommend only using a real Arduino or Genuino; the clones I’ve found are often unreliable, and it’s better to support the developers of the platform.)

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Add a Physical Knob to Your Max Patch with Arduino: Video Tutorials

Patching on a computer involves plugging something into something else virtually. In this video tutorial, you can extend that by adding a physical knob to control your custom creations, for Max/MSP (and Max for Live). It’s just a quick tip, but I know this gets asked a lot. (Greetings, students – happy spring semester to you!) And there’s something really fun about seeing a knob in the real world controlling something. Bonus points for using a toilet paper roll as a custom “housing.” It’s also nice seeing this accomplished in the all-new Max 7. And this is just the start, …

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LegoTechno: Sliding Lego Blocks Make Music with littleBits, Maschine, Arduino

Keep watching: this LEGO sequencer, playing a littleBits synth kit, does something amazing. Sliding tiles around actually changes the sequence, all reading the blocks, in a terrific real-world, physical user interface. (Well, it certainly pleased the crowds at the Music Hack Day at SONAR in Barcelona.) And yes, this means the team we saw earlier keeps working on this. Intrepid hackers can use the just-barely-hidden Lua back-end of Maschine to do their own custom scripting. More on that soon. In the meantime, let’s check out the details:

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Bluetooth LE Will Make Minority Report a Creepy Reality, But Also Arduino Cooler

PSFK – Adaptive storefront prototype from + rehabstudio on Vimeo. After years of failing to demonstrate compelling applications, Bluetooth is back with a vengeance. If you haven’t yet used a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) device, it’s a completely different experience. Pairing and range and latency work better (the result of years of learning how to make these better). Battery drain is barely noticeable. You can expect BLE to power lots of clever new applications – and it’s nice to see it showing up on DIY electronics. Oh, yeah, and it can creep the hell out of you, privacy-wise, by making …

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A DIY Multitouch Music Controller, monome-Style, Built From Scratch [Instructables, Arduino]

Complete with color LED display and interactive sensing, this clever DIY project from Amanda Ghassaei is the real deal: a multitouch table used for music, constructed from scratch. And step-by-step instructions on Instructables mean that you can try the same idea yourself. The 8×8 matrix and the notion of independent light-up LEDs, along with some of the firmware, come from the monome project (and the open arduinome clone). But here, that idea is extended to seamless touch sensing, measured by infrared. Multitouch Music Controller from Amanda Ghassaei on Vimeo.

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TightLight: Automatic 3D Mapping for Anything [TouchDesigner + Arduino]

TightLight: Automatic 3D Projection Mapping Method from Grady Sain on Vimeo. It seems like visual software is only just working out how to talk to an external display, how to recognize that it needs to be distinct from your computer display. And yet, we seem on the vanguard of a generation of tools able to seamlessly, automatically warp visuals to any set of surfaces. Instant projection mapping is nearly here, hopefully about to let you grumble to newcomer visualists about “you kids” and “how we did it in the old days.” (And when that happens, you better make sure you …

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Monster 16×12 Grid Step Sequencer Hardware, Built with Arduino

For some, there’s the step sequencer you dream of. Maybe it has a massive array of buttons for patterns, capable of spreading musical ideas across a lit grid. Maybe every last rhythm is visible, maybe it juggles layers and patterns with ease. Ryan B just went and built what he wanted. Under the moniker RNInstruments, he constructed a killer hardware step sequencer with a massive 16×12 grid. And this isn’t like a monome – or Push, or Launchpad, or the like – in that it is truly standalone MIDI hardware. You don’t need any computer, period. See the walkthrough above …

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A Grand Piano of Light, Illuminating Rachmaninoff [Arduino+LEDs]

Nail the finger fireworks of a particularly hard Rachmaninoff, and you may well feel like blasts of light are shooting out of the piano. But to give the audience the same sense, a DIY instrument made of cardboard and homebrewed responsive lighting translates that keyboard virtuosity to an optical show. Reader Aylwin Lo sends us this project out of Canada: Rachmaninoff’s √Čtude-Tableaux Op. 39 No. 6, as performed by YT//ST’s Brendan Swanson from Aylwin Lo on Vimeo. I’m with YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN. We’re an art collective based in Toronto and Montreal that is most known for making music and …

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Motion Controlling a Water Drop: Entropy, An Arduino, A Laser Pointer, and a Gorgeous Watery Animation

In an elegant, balletic dive, taking an almost impossibly-long span of time, a single droplet of water falls and splashes, an animated logo peeking out from the inside. But it’s what isn’t there that may surprise you. There’s slow motion camera behind the scenes, meaning the usual way of doing this is absent. Instead, what you’re seeing is a stop motion time lapse – a record of the shifting patterns of entropy in nature, thousands of different droplets appearing as connected that in reality are not. It’s a trick of animation and high-speed lighting, not high-speed photography, stroboscopic illusion. And …

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Bleep Drum, $60 Hackable Drum Machine Based on Arduino, On Sale

Don’t call it “lo-fi.” Call it “rad-fi.” At least, that’s what Austin, Texas-based creator Dr. Bleep says about his latest, the Bleep Drum. We saw the Stone’s Throw Records / Dam-Funk commission Dam-Drum 2.0 last month, but it sold out almost as soon as we mentioned it. The Bleep Drum is a sibling to that drum machine. There are some adjustments to the design, but most significantly, this one isn’t a limited edition – you might actually be able to get one of your own. It’s simple, hackable (with pins onboard), Arduino-based, and grungy enough to be fun. And as …

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