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Tunes, in Drops of Color: Design Project Mixes Minimal Notes with Audible Hues

Perhaps it’s the sense of detachment that comes from long hours spent staring at screens, peering into pixels and abstraction. But whatever the reason, when experimenting with design and music, creators seem increasingly drawn to simple, physical interaction. Somewhere in the mysterious play between senses, between seen color and unseen sound, they look for intuitive relationships. Designers Hideaki Matsui and Momo Miyazaki send in the latest adventure in induced synesthesia. Students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, they use a camera to connect color to sound. audible color from Momo Miyazaki on Vimeo. Full description:

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Beats Bits Atoms: Fish Play with Cameras, Paint and Pixels and Light Become Sculpture

◥ BEATS, BITS, ATOMS from ◥ panGenerator on Vimeo. Call it post-digital, call it tangible. But whatever you call it, there’s new work that skirts boundaries between the sculptural and the virtual, integrating physical media in ways that surprise and delight. In the latest projects of Polish-based collective panGenerator, shown recently in a solo show in a renowned Warsaw gallery, techniques are interwoven in projects that take on quirky, whimsical personality. Oh yeah – and fish finally get to play with camera tracking, too, not just humans. panGenerator member Jakub Kozniewski shares with CDM, and describes the projects thusly: kinetic …

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Camp America Releases a CD Encased in LEGO Blocks [Album Pick]

A paper cover is one option if you’re looking for ways of making music releases physical and tangible. But Steven Cowley went to something a bit more unusual. A release of his one-man project Camp America comes with a bag containing 125 LEGO pieces, and instructions for building the case. Steven writes us as he sees that paper example to show us some next-level physical release magic. And, oh yeah, importantly, it’s really good music – finely-polished, top-notch, synth-laden pop songs. It’s just darned good music, so the best I can say is, go take a listen. I also think …

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Quickie: Make a CD Case Out of a Piece of Paper

Quick! You need to send music to someone! You need to make it count! I love SoundCloud and whatnot, but with everyone so overwhelmed by music, there’s something about making something physical. We’ve covered this topic before, but: 1. I think we can all use a break from 2,000 word posts with 150 comments and controversy over deadmau5 (or Paris Hilton DJ debuts – staying away from that one). 2. CDM can only rarely link to wedding sites. This is one of those times. 3. With many variations out there, this one is especially nicely done, and nicely photographed, and …

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Visual Music: A Waveform Made of Vinyl Records, Benga Single, Inspired by Seeing Sound

Benga’s latest video was released early last month and made the blog rounds, but it’s worth considering as we continue our ongoing thread on visual music and how sound can go from invisible to tangible. A stunning video whets fans appetite for the upcoming Benga full-length Chapter 2, constructing a wave shape in physical form as a series of vinyl records. Using some 960 hand-cut vinyl records, the track’s waveform materializes in stop motion-filmed animation. Physical as it may be, the inspiration, say the creative team, was SoundCloud. UK-based creative team Us, consisting of Christopher Barrett and Luke Taylor, explain:

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Interaction in Thin Air: New Research from Microsoft, MIT Uses Magnets, Sound, Space

With multi-touch fully exploited and the basics of camera vision largely understood, interaction moves to the realm of free space, “augmenting” your world with gestures that find some physical connection. They surprise by working in some way that seems intuitive and natural, somewhere away from what seems to be the realm of the computer. And early in the month of May, we see a flurry of new research in just this area. Not one but two projects from Microsoft hold potential, and one from MIT Media Lab is just … absurdly cool. A summary: “Levitated Interaction Element,” out of the …

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Noisy Jelly: Gelatin Achieves Powers of Sound (And Make Your Own)

What if your musical instrument were gelatinous? Edible? “Noisy Jelly” is the latest project to imagine that scenario. Thanks to the capacitive quality of gelatin (known to us Americans by the brand name JELL-O and to some simply as “jelly”), you can mix up a set of colored instruments that jiggle when you touch them. Powered by the open hardware platform Arduino to read sensors and Max/MSP to produce sound, it’s the work of a couple of Paris-based students, Raphaël and Marianne Cauvard. Check out the terrific video featuring wide-eyed children, and specs below. What makes this more delightful is …

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PONK: Touchless Air Hockey, with Kinect + Flash, Groovy ’80s Neon Graphics

Enough gimmick. Let’s get down to serious business, the stuff that illuminates our life and gives us a deeper sense of humanity. Yes, I mean air hockey. Yes, I’m dead serious. (Hey, I’m a fan.) In a brilliant – and brilliantly-colored – new project, the power of computer vision reinvents a familiar tabletop game. Live-animated elements and gameplay that connects with just about everybody are a recipe for something really successful. French co-creator Jonathan Da Costa explains:

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PONK: Touchless Air Hockey, with Kinect + Flash, Groovy '80s Neon Graphics

Enough gimmick. Let’s get down to serious business, the stuff that illuminates our life and gives us a deeper sense of humanity. Yes, I mean air hockey. Yes, I’m dead serious. (Hey, I’m a fan.) In a brilliant – and brilliantly-colored – new project, the power of computer vision reinvents a familiar tabletop game. Live-animated elements and gameplay that connects with just about everybody are a recipe for something really successful. French co-creator Jonathan Da Costa explains:

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Voice Messages Become 3D Paper Waveform Sculptures: Paper Note

Instead of writing on paper, a sound executed in paper in three dimensions. All images courtesy the artists. Speaking of making the ephemeral tangible, as artist Andrew Spitz tells us, “it’s a fun process to map something that is so fleeting as a sound to a physical object.” That’s what he does in a new collaboration with Andrew Nip of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design in Denmark. It’s a simple process – and that’s a good thing, as it means anyone with access to a laser cutter can get in on the fun. Using software written in the open …

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