Complete with color LED display and interactive sensing, this clever DIY project from Amanda Ghassaei is the real deal: a multitouch table used for music, constructed from scratch. And step-by-step instructions on Instructables mean that you can try the same idea yourself.

The 8×8 matrix and the notion of independent light-up LEDs, along with some of the firmware, come from the monome project (and the open arduinome clone). But here, that idea is extended to seamless touch sensing, measured by infrared.

Multitouch Music Controller from Amanda Ghassaei on Vimeo.


Because it’s IR-based, the system is sensitive to natural light. But Amanda turned that accident into something creative, producing beautiful, organic ambient performances by leaving her controller outdoors. Watch:

breathing from Amanda Ghassaei on Vimeo.

bells from Amanda Ghassaei on Vimeo.

For more practical applications, you can connect the table/controller via USB to a computer; Amanda uses it to drive Max/MSP compositions.

As a from-scratch project, it’s surprisingly not too expensive – you need mainly some electronics, wood, the sensors, Arduino, and LEDs. (Compare pricier projects with projectors and the like, though of course those do allow fancier visuals than an 8×8 matrix – but without some of the charm of that simplicity.)

It could be a novel way to get a monome controller, for the brave. Full instructions:

Multitouch Music Controller by amandaghassaei [26 steps at Instructables]

Thanks to Arvid Jense for the heads-up.