The Dart line of controllers is an Arduino-powered array of devices, either for DIYers in shield form and with open software and specs, or mutated into a cornucopia of peculiar-looking devices. DMX and MIDI support and full customizability.

This is old news, but now feels like the right time to rediscover them. It’s impossible not to be drawn to their esoteric, colorful designs and variety – harkening back to the zany days of earlier bespoke controllers. Rotaries, sliders, spinners, touch sensors, switches, arcade pushbuttons, joysticks, and lights are bestrewn across their bodies in endless combinations. IBM keyswitches are even an option.

And that’s just with the pre-built models, each of which will set you back around 200-300 EUR. If you prefer to DIY – maybe you’ve got a backspace of your own – they also offer a simple Arduino shield and what appears to be pretty easy setup and software configuration.

Plus, while there are various things out there that do MIDI, it’s nice to see native DMX support. I don’t just mean “we use Arduino and probably you can connect via USB and translate to DMX” or some cop-out. I mean hardware DMX is an option as well as MIDI DIN. These do all work standalone.

Oh, and before you get confused – they do have a recommended donation for the software downloads, but it is all open and free should you want. The donation is there to keep them doing this in their home of Milan.

There’s also a really friendly, tip-filled DIY page, with lots of hand-assembled information on all these bits and bobs in their creations:

It’s all so lovely, this calls for a gallery, I say.

Thanks, Ted! Like… a few weeks later!