Ander sends us his creation, “Station,” a brilliant-looking MIDI controller built on the hardware platform. It could easily have qualified for the kinds of designs in the dreams competition – except he went ahead and made it. He filled it in with RGB LEDs, touch pads, and new SMD-based hardware.

The impact of the colored LEDs is something that provides some of the visual feedback of a touchscreen, but with real, tactile control and the satisfaction of using something physical. I challenge the iPad running TouchOSC (or Lemur, or anything else) to a smackdown with this gorgeous beast. Even as a fan of some of the advantages of touch, I suspect the iPad would lose rather spectacularly.

I asked Ander for more technical details:

have a look at MIDIbox of the Week: Station MIDI controller by Ander – MIDIbox Forum There is a diagram about the LEDs and knobs. For the touch pads I am using force sensors at the moment, but they are terribly expensive. I will be switching to FSRs

Some stats, if you want to know more just ask.

– based on the open hardware platform
– Aluminium casing, custom made
– Acrylic knobs, also custom made
– Modularized, can be made into any form
– Flexible PCB: can hold sensors, encoders and/or buttons
– Custom firmware on the microcontrollers
– Custom software interface on the host computer which interfaces via MIDI (in my case to Live)
– RGB LEDs, 24bit color depth (technically)
– USB interface (plus power, this thing needs a lot of power for all these LEDs)
– I have not counted the buttons 🙂

It’s an epic piece of work, a real testament to the efforts of its builder. We’ll need a new category of competition, for things other people already made that we dream about / covet anyway.

Nerd alert: Ander, the name “Station” is a reference to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and “Do you want to know more?” in the YouTube description to Starship Troopers … right? (Actually, even if I’m wrong, I’ve just identified myself as a dork cinematic connoisseur.)

Thanks to cooptrol for the tip, too!