Play a Great-Sounding Theremin in Your Web Browser: Distraction of the Day

If you want an explanation for why you’d want to build sophisticated audio into the Web, maybe it’s just because you don’t like fun. Fun is what you get out of this Web Audio Theremin toy, the work of one Luke Phillips of Femur Design. The web audio theremin is a touch friendly & responsive audio synthesizer built in javascript using the Web Audio API with HTML5 canvas. As the user interacts with the screen synthesized sounds are generated in the style of a moog theremin and the canvas displays a visual representation of the audio. “Theremin” is a loose …

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Dancer to Score to Animation: Coding, Decoding, and Recoding in a Choreography Lab

When it comes to dance technology, it isn’t enough to team dazzling engineers with dancers. Making digital technology meaningful to those steeped in the craft of dance means artists getting their hands dirty. Dance has a history in experimental exploration, from Merce Cunningham’s pioneering work with the LifeForms software (directly in his choreography) to digital dance hybrids created by the likes of Troika Ranch (Dawn Stoppiello/Mark Coniglio). The Motion Bank and Frankfurt, Germany could be the scene for dance tech’s next act. Choreographer William Forsythe launched a four-year project in Frankfurt am Main to collect data using Microsoft’s Kinect. The …

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VDMX Adds Wondrous Shader Features – And a Spec For Adding Them to Visual Tools

They’re a recent addition to popular OS X live visual app VDMX. But now is the perfect time to talk about the magic of shaders, generally. Standard “fragment shaders” are capable of performing feats of visual wonder as both generators and effects, using geometry and pixels. Written in GLSL, they are portable to any OpenGL-compliant graphics card, which now includes a range of modern hardware on both mobile and desktop devices. And since they run on the GPU, they do all of this magic on optimized hardware – without straining your CPU. Despite Apple’s reputation for being proprietary, they’ve been …

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A Tangled Sculpture of Lightbulbs, Stage to Elaborate Synchronized AV Performance

In a tree-like cluster of wooden branches, 60 electronically-fired lightbulbs glow in tightly-choreographed pulses along with music. The light sculpture becomes the setting for a kind of AV dance theater, forming an otherworldly environment for narrative movement. “A Man Named Zero” is the work of Nocte and a team in the UK of performers, pairing DJ with lightbulb accompaniment. Nocte realized the project in the creative coding tool Cinder (C++), which provides both the lightbulb control and slick-looking wireframe visual interface. Interestingly, the audio analysis isn’t just a straight FFT. Instead, using the open LibXtract library, the software “extracts” audio …

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From Song to 3D Model to Augmented App: Visualizing Oneohtrix Point Never

One reason to use code, and the constellation of open source creative coding libraries, is the ability to express ideas across media. HoloDecks is a beautiful experiment in doing just that. The work translates invisible sound to three-dimensional form, and combines visualization in the physical and virtual domains. HoloDecks goes through multiple phases of expression, built entirely in the multi-platform, free and open source OpenFrameworks. Analysis of the song. First, there is a spectral analysis of the selected tune – in this example, it’s “Zebra,” by Oneohtrix Point Never. Virtual three-dimensional visualization. Next, the spectral data is plotted in a …

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A Free and Open Source Compressor, Built in Pd and Perfect for Mobile

Whether you’re building an experimental effect or performance tool or writing the Next Big Thing in Mobile Apps, you might need some signal compression. Working in Pure Data (Pd), it’s easy to create patches that get unruly, especially once you add live audio input. For mobile developers, things get even worse: you have to make your app work anywhere, with a range of devices, acoustic environments, microphones — the list goes on. The folks at Two Big Ears, who are working on their own rather lovely Android synth, have come to the rescue of Pd hobbyists and mobile developers alike. …

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1024 Architecture Tesseract is a Dazzling Hypercube of Light; Gallery, Behind the Scenes

1024 Architecture have already made rectangles sexy, in light, mappings, and stage environments. Now, they’ve gone all fourth-dimensional on us – and the results are stunning. They give us a look behind the scenes at this project, and how they’ve used Ableton Live and Quartz Composer to realize it. You can even use their QC patches in your own projects, if you think you can add more nth dimensions. (For the record, a tesseract is a specific hypercube – a 4-dimensional shape, of the class of n-dimensional hypercubes. It’s also a cool reference to the science fiction of Madeleine L’Engel. …

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With Apple's PrimeSense Acquisition, Shifting Landscape in Depth Sensing, Motion Art

It wasn’t so long ago that point-and-shoot cameras were big, dedicated affairs. Now, camera sensors are everywhere. What’s next? Expect depth-sensing cameras like the Kinect’s to become as ubiquitous as camera sensors are in phones. And don’t listen to the analysts: if Apple is buying PrimeSense, they’re thinking iPhone, not only their Apple TV “hobby.” The news for the open source art hacking community using this stuff? Bad. And good. But… more on that in a bit. With touch staked out as input method, vision and, more broadly, “perceptual computing” seem poised to reshape the way we interact with devices. …

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With Apple’s PrimeSense Acquisition, Shifting Landscape in Depth Sensing, Motion Art

It wasn’t so long ago that point-and-shoot cameras were big, dedicated affairs. Now, camera sensors are everywhere. What’s next? Expect depth-sensing cameras like the Kinect’s to become as ubiquitous as camera sensors are in phones. And don’t listen to the analysts: if Apple is buying PrimeSense, they’re thinking iPhone, not only their Apple TV “hobby.” The news for the open source art hacking community using this stuff? Bad. And good. But… more on that in a bit. With touch staked out as input method, vision and, more broadly, “perceptual computing” seem poised to reshape the way we interact with devices. …

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Lunchbeat is a 1-bit Groovebox You Can Make Yourself

Friends bragging lately about the quality of the sound of their drum machines? Tell them you can make sounds lower fidelity than they can. LUNCHBEAT is a 1-bit groovebox, making impossibly-dirty digital sounds, with a built-in step sequencer. While we await a proper DIY kit, it’s an ideal learning project: it’s nice and simple, has a low part count, everything you need as far as specs is available free to create your own, and it’s a good way to work out the basics of digital sound and sequencing. And, really, if you need more than one bit to make music, …

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