Tangible sequencer interface with Skittles

Using a webcam, some cardboard, and a bag of Skittles, [Kyle McDonald] created this tangible interface for a beat sequencer. The Skittles are dropped onto the rows which correspond to a drum channel and each Skittle represents an 1/8th note. For such cheap components, the system seems to recognize the sequences pretty quick. This is probably due to some clever programming with the processing back-end. He claims his inspiration was the BallBearing sequencer, which uses the ball bearings as contact switches to determine the sequence rather than having a webcam analyze the surface.

It would be really nice to see this project expanded into a full blown instrument. the webcam could allow for dynamic surfaces and he could certainly add more control to the system with some knobs and/or sliders. He claims these features, and the source, will soon arrive.


  1. toki mccown says:

    the next step in Skittles technology

  2. dane says:

    all right kyle, you want a competition youve got it

    vroom vroom

  3. tjhow says:

    I wouldn’t use skittles, something more weighted and flat would be better.

  4. nat says:

    looks a lot like Audiopad:
    the skittles add a delicious, fruity twist, though

  5. Dane — you’re on :)

    @3 My first idea was jellybeans. Skittles were the “more flat” option :) I guess Hershey’s Kisses would be another alternative?

    @4 Audiopad/Reactable type surfaces are way more complex, but often based on the same principle: a webcam pointed at a tangible surface.

    I don’t know when/if I’ll come back to work on this more and implement any other features… but if anyone would like to expand on this idea I just posted the source — feel free to contact me if you have questions!

  6. hogiewan says:

    finally, a sequencer demo from someone with rhythm. Good drums samples.

  7. docphil says:

    I think this would be an awesome iphone app!

  8. Man this is so cool!!

    Way to go kyle, I can’t believe you made this drum machine/sequencer out of skittles of all things and a piece of cardboard.

    I wish I had engineering/electronics skills like this.

    Again, So freakin’ cool!

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