Bliptronic 5000’s Creator: Hacking Tips, Prototyping, and the Switchnome

Ed.: Resident hardware hacker and sound artist Michael Una chatted via phone with the creator of ThinkGeek’s $50 Bliptronic instrument. We’ve already got some early tips on how you might hack this design into custom creations, which could make the Bliptronic 5000 an ideal hardware hacker choice. (And, because it is cheap, you may be a little more adventurous with the thing.) Designer Ty Liotta also talks about prototyping, the design process, and reveals an entirely toggle-switch prototype that I wish they had actually shipped. It’s a must-read for hardware geeks. -PK I just spoke to Ty Liotta, the head …

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Bliptronic 5000: Tenori-On, monome, Meet Your $50, Hackable Clone

You know the grid craze is in full steam once ThinkGeek offers a $50 clone. The Bliptronic 5000 is somewhere between the Tenori-On and monome. It certainly looks like the monome, with an 8-by-8 grid of light-up pads in a square form factor. But like the Tenori-On, it has built-in sounds and speaker, it’s made of aluminum, and it runs on batteries. The Bliptronic also simplifies its user interface. Its 8×8 pads are simply an eight-note octave with eight steps. There’s a play button, and knobs for tempo and tone selector. There’s also the ability to link up devices and …

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Tonium Pacemaker Mobile DJ Device Now on Amazon, US$499

The pocketable DJ tool Pacemaker is now available here in the US at $499. That price is considerably more realistic than expected pricing earlier on, though it still fits in a funny sort of slot: it’s not quite the equivalent of pro DJ gear, which costs much more, but it’s still pricier than your run-of-the-mill DJ player. For those with the pocket change (cough), I could imagine it’ll be fun. And you do have to admire the Pacemaker for being a really unique hardware gadget idea. It’s a glimpse of what music technology could be like in the very near …

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NAMM Oddities, Now a Museum Piece

Barry Wood’s fantastic NAMM Oddities list is the definitive guide to strange things at NAMM — as in rare delights, as well as just plain weird. And the 2008 guide is now available. NAMM Oddities 08 Square drums are the oddity of the year, and will now be on display at the Museum of Making Music — very cool. Square drums aren’t as cool as electrically-powered oddities, at least in my biased book, so be sure to check out techno toys like the ∇w≈0 speaker array, oddly-shaped mic The Finger, and holo-glasses from McDSP. I wish there were more electronic …

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