A LEGO Step Sequencer, Made with a Camera and Code [Video; Open Source Code]

Beat Bricks – A LEGO Step Sequencer from superquadratic on Vimeo. There’s something about that feeling of snapping a LEGO brick in place, a tactile connection to childhood memory. So, while it’s perhaps neither necessary nor terribly practical, this rig that turns a LEGO board into a step sequencer is somehow irresistible. And, like any good hack, it’s a chance to learn and discover – one that, thanks to freely-available code, is shared. The ingredients: a camera, Ableton Live, and some code for analyzing the camera image and translating those events into MIDI messages Live can turn into sound. It’s …

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Modul8 Gets New Beginner-Friendly Manual, Expert-Ready Custom Module Documented

I wouldn’t normally rave about a manual, but — this is how it should be done. Kudos! (Well, that and the one time Edirol bizarrely did a set of ninja videos for motion dive.tokyo.) Modul8, the popular Mac live video tool, got bumped to version 2.6.3 this week. But the most important change is a fantastic new manual for the software, buried at the bottom of the changed feature list: – Syphon SDK Public Beta 2 – fixed an issue with OS X 10.7 Lion – Fixed some issues with alpha channels when using shared textures in Syphon – Fixed …

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Turn Your Generative Radio On: Live Stream Made from Pure Data Patches

Radio from the past, meet radio from the future. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Nic McPhee. Tired of top 40 hits? Pooped on podcasts? Sapped on streams? What if your radio could generative music that was never-before — and never-again — heard, all from dynamic, algorithmic software? PatchWork Radio does that with Pd patches. It’s not a new idea, but the radio station here, at least, is modular – not just one patch but any number of patches can be transformed into radio, thanks to some Python scripting. Creator David Guy John notes: I’ve recently just started up an internet radio station using …

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Hacking Ableton Live: Unofficial OSC, Scripting for More Control

Can you hack it? Yes. Yes, you can. Screenshot (CC-BY) Hens Zimmerman / 37Hz. Even before Max for Live was available, hackers had found a way of interacting with “secret” APIs inside Live for custom control, allowing them to customize Live’s behavior and make it work more seamlessly with hardware. That included providing something Ableton themselves had not: real, native control of Live via OSC, for more control than MIDI alone can provide. I was assured such hacks would continue to work, and sure enough, they have. Here’s how to get started. You may wonder, of course, why even bother …

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Touch: Meet the Multitouch Guitar – Plus An Open Source, iPhone Solution, Too

As multitouch becomes more widely available, there’s an opportunity to re-imagine all sorts of interfaces. And yes, that includes the guitar. I’m way behind on mentioning it, but thanks to all the readers who spotted the fascinating Misa digital guitar. Strings and frets are each replaced with digital touch controls, and the soundboard touchscreen is set up to control notes, velocity, pitch, and filters. In fact, it makes the guitar more like a keyboard, and less like a guitar. But as with all digital instruments, abstracting the gesture from the actual sound means that you can arbitrarily redefine what the …

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Round-up: Your Web-Connected Musical Future, at Music Hackday Stockholm

It’s like Woodstock for Web music tech nerds. Photo (CC-BY) Anton Lindqvist. “Okay,” you say to the Web geeks, “I’ve had enough. I don’t want another little app that looks at my iTunes collection and tells me that if I like Lady Gaga, I probably also like Madonna. I want to listen in new ways and, most importantly, make music. What have you got, Web 2.0… 3.0… whatever we’re on now, that I can actually use. I want some of the deliciousness of the future, now.” “Oh, and another thing – can I patch this Android phone of mine in …

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NodeBox 2: Free, Python-Powered Tool Gets Visual Patching, Windows Support

Free tools like Processing and OpenFrameworks have provided elegant, quick coding for live graphics, but their interfaces have tended to be code-based. One exception has been the Mac-based Field, which provides graphical patching. Now, you can add NodeBox to that list. This free graphical creation toolkit, built on Python, had long allowed tinkering with and exporting beautiful illustrations, but its interface used code exclusively – and it ran on Macs only. Now, NodeBox 2, in an actively-developed beta, runs on Windows and adds a graphical patching interface. The “Core Vector” Nodes act as much as a set of macros as …

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Max for Live Beta is Here; Final Version November 23

Max For Live Sneak Peak from max4live on Vimeo. Suddenly, I have an image of American Ableton hackers patching on their MacBook over Thanksgiving turkey. After a long, long wait, a public beta of Max for Live is available. The software incorporates the full version of Max/MSP/Jitter – complete with visual output, video processing, and 3D capabilities – with the Live host. Max patches operate with all their usual capabilities as devices inside Live. User interface elements are available to give Max patches conventional Ableton device interfaces, and there are even pre-built elements for useful functions like frequency displays and …

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Computer Vision Goodness: OpenCV 2.0, OpenCV on Android, Book

OpenCV powers a multitouch interface, built in openFrameworks. Project by / photo (CC) Todd Vanderlin. When Thanksgiving rolls around, OpenCV will be one of the gifts for which I’ll be thankful. OpenCV is a “computer vision” library, capable of tracking motion and analyzing images, but generally useful as a pixel-crunching video library for many tasks. It’s a native, C/C++ library, accessible from many other languages, including Java and Python. Experienced C++ programmers and artists dabbling in Processing alike can use it. (See our Processing tutorial.) It’s also a real success story for open source code, first developed by Intel but …

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