David Pogue made the immensely-successful Missing Manual book series in order to fill in for the manual that should have been included with software. But an impassioned fan of MOTU’s BPM drum sampler went further than that – a lot further.

Simon (ssp/plastikaudio) has constructed an entire hardware controller for BPM. It gives MOTU’s software tangible form, with more than a little nod to the classic Akai samplers and Roger Linn. The form factor is oversized and roomy, with big knobs and faders and pads you can reach out and grab – no tiny hands or mice required.

Now, naturally, most people are never going to go this far. It ought to make clear to developers just how hungry people are for smart tangible control of software, however. And if someday software could come with controllers that were as easy to assemble as LEGO kits, imagine what users could do. In the meantime, the semi-ambitious can follow Simon’s own documentation if they want their own. (Now, if only someone could build the imaginary display, too.)

This is just a mock-up, a screenshot of BPM the software someone tacked on to fake, virtual hardware that existed only in their mind. Or so it was until someone took it literally and built the thing.

Obviously, you should just start releasing mock-ups and allow the genius of the Internet to turn it into reality when you least expect it.

Simon writes:

It’s the only full scale replica of the Motu Bpm Software. Its a full size, control surface with every control mappable to any parameter.

The unit is based on the mb64e from ucapps.de which is a diy controller kit of various boards which you can use to build any type of controller you want. The only thing you need to do then is choose components and interfaces and also design a case for everythign to go into.

The casework and everything else was designed by myself and then lasercut and cnc bent. I then painted and labeled the interface also. Also the BPM interface pcb’s were designed by myself also and then optomised by NILS from the midibox forums.

More information:
Akai MPC Forums discussion
MOTUNATION discussion (with shots of the metal casing)
midibox.org discussion

And the software it’s designed to control – worth checking out for features like Euclidian polyrhythm editing. (Hint: math can really groove.)

This is doubly amusing to me, because when I first saw media images for the launch of BPM at 2009’s NAMM, I though MOTU – like Native Instruments with Maschine at the same show – was adding a drum pad controller to go with their drum sampler/machine. (It turned out just to be a creative use of a screen image.)