MSA Remote + VDMX + Ableton Live from Memo Akten on Vimeo.

Imagine what’s now possible with a mobile phone: anyone with a supported device can jam with other artists, walk up to an installation, connect to other creators and other software, all using supported protocols. Leaving behind the days of painstaking manual adjustment of MIDI commands and obscure drivers, and even the act of having to physically connect gear, software – and with it, digital art – can simply talk to each other in standard ways.

That’s why we’re excited about software like Memo Atken’s MSA Remote. It uses the standardization provided by the network-savvy, open protocol OSC, with additional plug-and-play (or, erm, don’t plug, do play) functionality from the TUIO protocol. OSC provides the communication; TUIO makes the messages standardized.

To avoid confusion: You do NOT need a Mac to use OSC. OSCulator is a cool app – and makes bridging to MIDI easier – but it’s just one tool among many. You can use this app with Windows and Linux, too, and visual apps like VDMX, Resolume Avenue, Pd/GEM, Processing… the list goes on. In fact, almost every visual app today worth using uses OSC, even as the music world is painfully slow to catch on.


– Multitouch information sent using standard TUIO protocol for instant integration with existing TUIO clients
– Accelerometer data for each axis (x, y, z) is sent
– 64 faders (8 pages of 8 faders)
– 64 triggers (8 pages of 8 triggers)
– 108 key (9 octaves) VELOCITY SENSITIVE polyphonic keyboard. Yes, the harder you hit the keys, the greater the velocity.
– Settings are automatically saved and restored
– Multitouch area orientation can be set as desired
– All information on protocols are documented in the app

I’m hoping MSA Remote is just the beginning of apps out there – and that we see support for slick, new devices from Nokia, Palm, HTC, and others (and for Android). But it’s especially good news to see MSA Remote available on the iTunes Store, where it was initially rejected. I still think that Apple’s one-store-only approach to distribution is a liability, and since thy’re committed to it, I’d like to see them improve the approval process. But that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited that the app is finally here.

Check it out:
MSA Remote for iPhone

That page also details what TUIO is about and with which apps you can use this. I’m doing some work myself on some of this, so stay tuned for more. And while multi-touch is cool, I think there’s an opportunity to keep standardizing other messages, too, like pen input, location sensors, and other data. It should also be possible to make software smarter about conncting to other OSC apps and hardware. (Oh, yeah, and while we’re at it, we could use more dedicated OSC hardware!)

But thanks for the great work, Memo – and for the acknowledgment. And thanks to everyone who (politely, I hope) communicated to Apple that this was an app we need.

Graffiti Wall meets MSA Remote from Alex Beim on Vimeo.