Come on – you know that occasionally you want technology to respond when you slap it.

As my sister watched an episode of the television show Quantum Leap, I thoroughly enjoyed watch Dean Stockwell’s character Al give his pocket computer, looking for all the world like a 7″ tablet, little helpful smacks.

SmackTop does that for music. Yes, we hear, ad infinitum, the complaint that laptop musicians simply stare inertly at blue glowing laptops as if checking their email. Now they get to put a little skin in the game, literally. And a version 0.3 update makes this humorous novelty genuinely useful:

Imagine your laptop as a MIDI drum kit. SmackTop is an open-source application for Mac laptops which translates physical motion into MIDI messages. Through real-time analysis of the built-in accelerometer’s output, SmackTop is able to classify four different ‘smacks’. Now you can control your favorite DAW by simply tapping your computer. Slap samples, ping notes and hit record – SmackTop is the MIDI controller you already own.

Try it yourself, free: (they miss the obvious name, “SlapTop,” but…)

Got another motion-sensing laptop that’s not a Mac and feel jealous? Maybe someone can port this.

In January, we also expect to catch up in person with developer Raymond Weitekamp and Interface LA, the awesome live performance collective in southern California. Stay tuned.

Slap that laptop, make it free!

Now, a tribute to slaps we love…

Ah… to me, this is the taste of Handmade Music New York at Culturefix. I’m going to miss you guys. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Heath Brandon.