littleBits and KORG: Snap Together A Synth with Magnets, $159; Module-by-Module Details, Q&A, Gallery

New York startup littleBits and founder Ayah Bdeir helped pioneer the modern definition of open source hardware. But they also put it into action, getting even young kids snapping together their own hardware ideas. The process is addictively simple: whereas platforms like Arduino require breadboards and wires, littleBits’ tiny circuits are already pre-made and snap […]

A Stompbox That Can Become Whatever You Like, in Crowd-funded OWL

There are stompboxes. They are — for lack of a better word — foot worthy. You can step on them, in a way that is less possible with a computer. (Well, sure, somewhere amidst an endless spinning color pinwheel you may have wanted to step on your MacBook Air, but then thought better of it […]

Software Instruments, Freed From Sampler Formats: SFZ, Free Sounds, Free Sample Player

“Free As In Free Me From Proprietary Formats.” If you’re ready to explore sounds – as a novice sampler user or as an advanced sound developer – SFZ brings tidings of great joy. When they move from defining mere sounds or samples to describing whole instruments, sound designers need file formats. The problem has been […]

How A Great Product Can Be Bad News: Apple, iPad, and the Closed Mac

Would you use this object if it came with restrictions? Photo — of a hacked Moleskin, ironically — (CC-BY-SA) Alexandre Dulaunoy. Apple’s iPad is here. It starts at $499. It’s a gorgeous, brilliantly-designed device that has the benefits of Apple’s cleverly-engineered, best-in-class developer tools for mobile. A lot are likely to sell. And unfortunately, to […]

Tangible Interface Hackday: Music with Soda Bottles, Floor Toms, More

Fritzcrate Project / lusidLearn Early Demo from Michael Schieben on Vimeo. Knobs and faders can be rigid. Fancy multitouch devices can be expensive. But for the cost of a webcam and some spare materials, you can build computer interfaces with objects around the house, thanks to the power of open source software. In just one […]