From Disneyland to You: Q+A with Creator of Disney's Air Interaction Aireal

Ideas for interaction have come from many places. But with illusion and immersion a key part of the magic of digital experiences today, maybe it’s about time to take a stroll to Disneyland. Yesterday, we saw the novel idea of using blasts of air to provide physical feedback without requiring touch: Into Thin Air: Disney’s Aireal Vortex Rings Give Tactile Feedback Where None Exists Today, Rajinder Sodhi of Disney Research, primary inventor of the tech, answers CDM’s questions about what all of this means. CDM: What other research has gone this direction before? Raj: This research comes from a big …

READ MORE →

Into Thin Air: Disney’s Aireal Vortex Rings Give Tactile Feedback Where None Exists

The bane of wave-your-hands-in-the-air interaction systems is that you can’t feel anything when you use them. Swatting the air with your hands in front of a Kinect, for instance, gives you nothing in tactile resistance – those invisible objects can be seen, but not felt. So what’s the solution? Well, if the interaction is in the air, you could use actual air for feedback. That’s what researchers from Disney in Pittsburgh, PA propose with their new system Aireal. (Get it? Like the mermaid? Ahem.) The device is a robotic haptic air emitter, bursting short blasts of air called “vortexes.” When …

READ MORE →

Into Thin Air: Disney's Aireal Vortex Rings Give Tactile Feedback Where None Exists

The bane of wave-your-hands-in-the-air interaction systems is that you can’t feel anything when you use them. Swatting the air with your hands in front of a Kinect, for instance, gives you nothing in tactile resistance – those invisible objects can be seen, but not felt. So what’s the solution? Well, if the interaction is in the air, you could use actual air for feedback. That’s what researchers from Disney in Pittsburgh, PA propose with their new system Aireal. (Get it? Like the mermaid? Ahem.) The device is a robotic haptic air emitter, bursting short blasts of air called “vortexes.” When …

READ MORE →

As Touch and Laptops Converge, Finally Potential for Music Making? [Prelude]

“Where are my touch laptops?” It’s becoming the “where are my flying cars?” of the laptop music age. And so it is that I’m here in Taipei, Taiwan, having spent today hanging out with Acer as they talk about what they’re doing with touch on their computers (laptops and tablets). The touch laptops are here in force – not a couple of netbooks or tablet PC oddities, but with the full-blown force of the PC industry behind them. The question now is whether we actually want them. 2012 was a little early to ask that question for the music audience; …

READ MORE →

Bleeding-Edge Musical Innovation, Live from CCRMA; Full Report, Monolake + Tarik Barri Live

Ivory tower, let down your hair. Make no mistake. The slightly-impossible-to-pronounce acronym CCRMA (“karma”), standing for the not-terribly-sexy “Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics,” is one of the world’s hotbeds for innovation in electronic music. From the lowest-level DSP code to the craziest live performances, this northern California research center nesting at Stanford is where a lot is going on. So, when they put on a concert, this isn’t just another dry exposition of “tape” pieces, academics scratching their chins and trying not to nod off. (Trust me: I’ve … on occasion darned nearly rubbed my chin raw …

READ MORE →

Traktor DJ on iPhone, Waveforms and Touch, and the Phone As Desktop Companion

Not long after its debut on the iPad, Traktor DJ is available for the iPhone and iPod touch. The surprise is that more or less all the functionality of the bigger iPad version is there, only reorganized visually for the smaller screen. In fact, zoom in on a waveform and it’s the same height in your hand as it is on the iPad mini. You get the same 3-band EQ and filter sections, waveform loop and cue points, time analysis, scrubbing, library browsing and management, and even the same eight effects. NI has been fairly clever fitting that onto a …

READ MORE →

Breeding Beats: Pattern Mutation with Elektron Machinedrum + iPad

For all the variety in synths and control methods, patterns and sequencing often tend to be rather same-y. That’s why it’s wonderful to see things like this short video from Jakob Penca. In it, rhythms mutate and vary, all as clever gestures on an iPad manipulate the beat-making noises of an Elektron Machinedrum. The app is still under development, but it’s nice to see this early glimpse. Description: a quick improvisation demo of my upcoming iOS app for the Elektron Machinedrum. This shows how you can mutate a pattern with copy & paste operations directly on an iPad. This app …

READ MORE →
Orphion is an instrument, merging ideas from percussion and strings into something you can play on the iPad. And now you can create your own layouts and tunings. Images courtesy the developer.

Freehand Playable Circles, in Any Tuning, on iPad: New Orphion Editor

Design is the art of compromise. And so, as the touch tablet asks you to sacrifice some things – velocity sensitivity, physical separation, tactile feedback – it gives back the ability to produce freeform interfaces. The iPad’s downside is that it is a piece of undifferentiated glass; its upside is that that glass can transform into anything you like. That makes it a bit puzzling when it is reduced to a set of fake knobs and faders, which has the advantages of neither physical hardware nor the iPad’s open-ended possibilities. When it was first produced, I praised Orphion as an …

READ MORE →

A DJ App for iPad That’s Modular, For Exactly What You Want: d(- -)b from touchAble Creators

d(- -)b brings the colorful, visual, touchable waveforms that are part of the draw of iPad DJing. But to that, it adds another trick: custom, modular layouts, letting you choose up to six decks, for instance. Two decks, or more decks? Horizontal, or vertical waveforms? Which controls? DJ app designers normally have to make such decisions for their users – and users must, more or less, take what they’re given. Not so with the odly-named, just-released d(- -)b iPad DJ app. Using a grid to neatly-align elements, it lets you choose what you want on-screen, and whether two decks or …

READ MORE →

As a Musician Loses Her Sight, A Rush for Music Apps for the Blind [Hack + Listen]

Take a good, long look at your computer screen. Now imagine you can’t see it. That’s the reality Mandy Matz is facing. At age 36, she’s losing her vision to glaucoma. The musician and multimedia artist makes some beautiful, ethereal music, having cut her teeth on Buzz. Listen to the haunting “Alpha Waves,” her first song. EP by Theory Anesthetic And now, because sight is so deeply connected to the way in which music developers map your brain to software, losing her vision could mean losing her ability to work with digital tools. It shouldn’t be this way. As Paul …

READ MORE →