Apple Magic Trackpad as Multi-Touch Input, and Cross-Platform Multi-Touch

Apple today, alongside beefed-up iMacs with quad-core and Mac Pro towers with twelve, introduced a $69 Bluetooth trackpad accessory with multi-touch gesture support. http://www.apple.com/magictrackpad/ I’m not a huge fan of trackpads over mice, but yes, this does give you a cheap multi-touch input to play with. And we haven’t seen much in the dirt-cheap, under-$100 space. Wacom’s Bamboo Pen & Touch is a fun, decent-enough tablet available at a street price about the same as the Magic Trackpad. But its “multi-touch” functionality consists of a set of hard-wired gestures – developers can’t get at discrete touch points directly on the …

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Android, Apple, and Multi-Touch, from the Man Who Hacked the G1

We’ve got further compelling evidence Apple doesn’t really own multi-touch and multi-touch gestures — and that other devices and interfaces will press forward (which is a good thing for everyone). Lest you think I’m straying too far from creating digital music, by the way, I think this means lots of new music apps – as musicians have devoured multi-touch more than any other group (and certainly have used it for the coolest stuff). I am concerned about how multi-touch innovation will wrangle with over-zealous intellectual property legal wrangling. But hopefully I made it clear that, even with my concerns about …

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Lemur, Dexter Multi-Touch: V2 Software, Recession-Special Price Drops

Unboxing the Lemur, (CC) Bjarke Bech. Before the iPhone, before HP computers and Windows 7 touch features and Apple trackpad gestures, the Jazz Mutant Lemur multi-touch interface was ahead of its time. Today, it’s still unique, in that it’s one of the few commercially-available devices to support OpenSoundControl, it’s a luxuriously-large multi-touch screen, and it has exceptional precision and low latency with its tracking. Of course, it has also been subject to two primary complaints: one, that the software options for creating onscreen interfaces is two simple, and two, that it costs too much. Well, the Lemur and its more …

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eMotion Arrives; Mac Donationware Makes Gestures and Dance Visually Alive

eMotion+Wiimote in IR mode from Adrien Mondot on Vimeo. eMotion, an all-Cocoa Mac app, is now available as alpha donationware, and it’s capable of some stunning, particle-based visuals. Wave around a Wiimote, and get satisfying swirls of particles – even if they send a chill down my spine as I sit here in snowy Chicagoland. Creator Adrien Mondot of Grenoble, France practices juggling and dance as well as programming, and it shows. He has some nice ideas about the software that I think could inspire other, similar directions. As he describes it: eMotion is a tool for creating interactive motions …

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Gestures, Mobile Music, and the “Low Floor” for Novices: ZooZBeat on iPhone, Nokia

From the time we’re kids, we use gestures to make music – shaking, tapping, moving our bodies around, and connecting physical movement to sound. The idea of using these kinds of gestures to control digital music has been something researchers have worked on for many years. But with increasingly smart phones, equipped with mics, tilt and acceleration sensors, cameras, and other inputs, it’s possible to actually deliver these tools to average users. The latest entry in the field is ZooZBeat. Its life as a mobile app is just a matter of months, but the research behind it involves years of …

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Daito Manabe Makes Music with Parts of His Face

Facial music, indeed. Daito Manabe has made the music the controller and his face the controlled in a new project. (As several commenters were quick to note, I got this exactly backwards when I posted this a few minutes ago: his face is the output, and the music the input.) Daito Manabe is a Japanese-based composer, media artist, and DJ who does strange and wonderful things with inputs. This time, he’s hooked up electrical outputs to his face, so multimedia software Max/MSP, his usual tool of choice, can sequence muscle movements via electrical pulses transmitted directly to the surface of …

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MultiTouch Cell: Ready-to-Use, Modular MultiTouch, And Other Options

Clockwise from left: a proposed design for the MTmini project, which you can get your hands on on the cheap; the open-source multi-touch TouchKit project, developed by resident researchers at Eyebeam and open to developers; a new entry, the lovely (but apparently not yet available) MultiTouch Cell promises to be a plug-and-play product. Multi-touch for visualists? It’s coming, and it may have nothing to do with names like Apple or Microsoft. But while many projects now are experimental and pricey, your hands do seem to be close to being liberated from the mouse and keyboard alone. No word on pricing …

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Control Visuals with Wii, Free: Adobe Flash, OSC, MIDI

Musicians have thousands of years of history when it comes to interfaces and instruments, but visuals are relatively new. Little wonder, then, that visualists are eager to try new interfaces to help make visuals akin to performance instruments. Or, in less lofty terms, let’s get Wii remote wagging in the club tonight. Over on createdigitalmusic.com, we’re celebrating Game Day — basically, I’m squeezing as many game-related posts into 24 hours, because a whole bunch of tips came in at once. A couple of Wii-related controller solutions jumped out. Wii + Flash MoteDaemon = Flash (and Flex, and AIR) + Wii, …

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Game Day: Play Drums, MIDI, Guitar with a Wii Controller, Free

Bless Nintendo for making the Wii controller: inexpensive, lots of internal sensor data (motion sensing, tilt sensing, buttons), elegant design, and standard Bluetooth support allowing it to be used with Mac, Windows, and Linux. Now there’s free and open source software for making the most of your Wiimote as a musical instrument. First up: Wiinstrument, a multi-purpose percussion instrument, now available for all three operating systems (a Windows version was recently added). Plays percussion / drums with gestures Use an (in-development) internal sampler with WAV files, or trigger other software via MIDI Use tilt for control changes Supports tilt, velocity …

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Interactive Table as Synth, Via New, Better Bjork Tour Vids; Microsoft Surface Snickering

There’s a simple problem: sound is invisible, and sound synthesis concepts don’t have any physical reality. Knobs, faders, patch cords, keyboards, infrared sensors, touchpads, and the like all work quite nicely for synthesizing sounds. But take a closer look at Bjork’s use of the reacTable, an interactive multimedia interface that uses a camera to track the movements of blocks on a surface. They really are using it to make sounds, those sounds really are visualized in a nice new way (watch the waveforms connecting the blocks), and while the result is some swoopy synthy sounds, the interface does make making …

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