Making music with tech stolen from Predator

This is a second generation Manta, a touch-based controller with visual feedback made to use with Max/MSP. The hexagonal size and the patterns seen in the video after the break remind us of the arm-based computers the Predators sport in the movies. Like the previous generation, this controller can tell not only which of the 48 sensor you’re touching, but how much of your finger is touching it. The sky is the limit on extensibility with this type of data, but for now you can just try out the pre-built plugin and see how it goes. New with this rendition of the Manta is the use bi-color LEDs which adds another lay of interaction with the PC to which this is tethered.

If you don’t mind giving up the touch controllers for good old push buttons perhaps this Harmonic Keyboard is right up your alley.

[via Engadget]


  1. MrX says:

    That is a really nice build. I usually go the capacitive way when building touchscreens, but this time I got a feeling I should try resistive next time.

    Wouldn’t he get more precision by decreasing the width of the contact tracks and increasing the number of them?

  2. Hackius says:

    Predator computers are ARM based? I never knew

  3. Hackius says:

    MrX: Where do you get your capacitive screens?

  4. Randall says:

    Proofread better. I’ve seen more typos in the last 3 posts I’ve read on this site than in the years Ive been following it prior.

  5. Elias says:

    Cool thing, wish it would make some nice sounds too instead of only noise :P

  6. Tech B. says:

    1 for anything pred.

  7. Eirinn says:

    Awesome build, but holy crap i wouldn’t call that music. Reminds me of the touch screens from the star trek on board Enterprise.

  8. The Moogle says:

    700$ to buy one? Yikes!

    At least he could have went gold plated to prevent corrosion from sweaty hands djing at a night club

  9. Even tin plating would be better than what is offered.
    700$ means a lot of profit to sell a noise maker that needs an expensive program in the pc to even work lol.

  10. Steve says:

    If a DJ rocked up at my local club playing this shite he should be worried about more than just corrosion from sweaty hands.

  11. MrX says:


    I make them. They are static back-lit touchscreens like this one. The design is similar to this one – I cut the tracks and pads from thick aluminum paper (PCBs work too) but instead of using finger resistance to measure screen touches, I charge tiny capacitors and then measure the discharge when your body enters contact with the conductive pad.

    There is plenty of documentation out there on using AVR’s pins in high-impedance to measure charge variance.

  12. JEDITALIAN says:

    damn. daft punk could have made the tron movie sound much better with that shit

  13. Digitalundernet says:

    To everyone saying “thats not music” Thats Christopher Jon playing. He plays industrial rock music with his band I, parasite, synths for Android Lust and makes noise music for another band. Forgot the name though.

    Anyway while you might not think so this man has serious synth patching skills; and the sounds can be changed anyway its not like they’re hardwired into the thing

  14. Donov4n says:

    My arse flute is more melodic that this guy “mastering” this “instrument”.

    However if they sell this stuff for 700bucks they make at least 680 margin, because it’s not too complex to set this up with a few QMatrix touchlib AVRs.

  15. Bjonnh says:

    I love this !

  16. smoker_dave says:


    “makes noise”

    You hit the nail on the head there son.

  17. The thing about this kind of “data-intensive device” is its inherent compromise:

    The more detailed data you pull from it (say, to make more different nuances in the music), the more skilled the performer has to be.

    If you use the data to really “max out” the capabilities of the device, you make an instrument that may be impossible, or at least impractical, for any performer.

    It’s like, initially speed limits were 5-10 miles per hour; as the equipment got better we were able to push that to (roads considered) pretty close to “safely sub-average” human limits — we need self-driving cars before we can go 150mph everywhere.

    The relation is simply that you can probably use a device like this to require more skill than a human can learn. I think that would be a fascinating study.

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