What good is open source hardware? How about hacking in additional functionality by adjusting the code and electronics? The creators of Monome have a new video demonstrating some of the possibilities for user modifications to their hardware project. Included:

  1. Optical encoders allow additional multi-touch interactions, for a game of Life (the grid-based life simulation of yore)
  2. Two knobs make the world’s most expensive Etch-a-Sketch
  3. An accelerometer let you tilt and shake the controller while using it, with full LED feedback (my personal favorite)

Monome documentation of process and prototyping
Via Open-source grid controller – the monome (video)”, Make:blog

The software side is all programmed using Max/MSP and the open source project Processing, which we’ve been following avidly on Create Digital Motion. A reader on Make points out that the device is pricey at $500, but if you have any similar ideas on any scale, you can learn something from the open documentation.

Now just imagine what you could do if Korg posted documentation for hacking their hardware and rewriting their code. A lot of these open source projects have been big business — made bigger by word-of-mouth promotion. Could more music makers profit from letting customers hack their gear? Absolutely.

Previously: Hackable, Playable LED/Pad Music Interface