Software doesn’t have to mean virtualizing everything and letting go of physical objects. On the contrary, it can create all sots of imaginative, new ways of mapping musical ideas to the physical world. And that’s how we wind up with a walnut drum sequencer.

There’s something about virtual drum machines and snacks. We’ve seen bubblegum and Skittles, beer bottle caps, soda bottles, and now walnuts. Don’t stop now: someone has to do Cheetos, even if it means dealing with orange stuff all over your fingers.

That said, it’s not walnuts that make d-touch an important project. Built by Enrico Costanza back in 2003, the project is now available for free download as an open source library, a server (in case you don’t want to get into the C++ code but might want to use this in your own projects), a free, usable drum machine, and a set of documentation that can help you make your own stuff easily. Enrico worked on the original reacTable prototype and has done some really important work in this field. Right now, Enrico and co are looking for feedback, but if you’re ready to just be a tester and play with this – and see what you can do musically – now’s your chance.

d-touch also combines high levels of computer readability for accurate tracking with the ability to make your own tags. Instead of using ugly-looking glyphs, you can make patterns that make sense to human beings as well as computers. Oh, yeah – and mobile fans, this runs at a full 14 fps even on S60 phones.

For more, check out the d-touch site: [Register first to make the download available]
and follow them on Twitter:

Thanks to Martin (of reacTable, which is moving toward a commercial product) for sending this our way. Thanks, too, to Ben, who’s working on tangible interfaces with special needs students. I really look forward to hearing how that’s going.