Interactive Gloves Turn Gestures into Music

Imogen Heap wearing her Mi.Mu gloves

[Imogen Heap] is a UK-based musician who is trying to change the way we think about making music. She’s been working on a pair of gloves called the Mi.Mu, and they’re getting close to production.

In the included interview she explains that while computers and technology have brought many new advances to music, twiddling dials and pushing random buttons “is not very exciting for me, or the audience”. With these gloves, the artist becomes one with the music and interaction.

The current iteration of gloves use flex sensors along each finger to determine the movement (along with motion sensors for other gestures). She’s been through many designs and hopes to integrate e-materials into the next — using the actual glove as the sensor (not physical flex sensors).

She’s been working with both developers and musicians mapping the various motions of the gloves to music which makes sense in an intuitive way, and it’s very unique to see in action.

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Two hard disks and one DJ get down with no delay

Mixmaster [robelix] built a MIDI controller for DJs that uses two hard drives for scratching and cutting some wicked beats.

[robelix]‘s project is called Hard DJ and was inspired by this earlier build capable of producing a droning appreciated chiptune music using the motor inside a hard drive. Instead of reading the out of phase sine waves produced when a hard drive platter is manually rotated, [robelix] used custom laser cut encoder wheels and an IR detector from old computer mice. This gives [robelix] far more resolution than would be possible by reading the drives stepper motors and allows him to scratch and cut to whatever his MC desires.

The electronics portion of the build are a little rough at this stage – just an Arduino Mega, a few buttons, and a trio of faders. [robelix] will be building a proper enclosure for his controller soon, something we can’t wait to see.

If you’d like to clone this DJ controller, all the files are up on the Git. Check out the video after the break.

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A mixer (re)built to travel

[Toby Cole] likes to mix tunes whenever he gets a chance. But the size of his DJ equipment made it a real bother to lug around with him. He does own a Behringer portable mixer but without cross faders it’s not really all that usable, and most of the other offerings don’t get good reviews. He ended up replacing the enclosure of a proper mixer in order to make it light and small. The growing availability of affordable laser-cut parts made this project possible.

Build Brighton, [Toby's] local Hackerspace, has a laser cutter. So he knew that if he could figure out a smaller case design it would be a snap to get his parts made. He cracked open the heavy metal case on the KMX 100 mixer and found it had a ton of extra room inside. He designed all of the plates using a digital calipers to properly space the holes and text labels. These designs were combined with BoxMaker to produce the files the laser cutter needed. The first prototype was cut from cardboard, with the finished product cut from 3mm plywood.

Building new interfaces with an iPad

There’s a word – synchronicity – to describe two disparate events that occur together in a meaningful way. We see this a lot in the Hackaday tip line; two people send in somewhat similar hacks solving similar problems in similar ways nearly simultaneously. Here’s two builds by [Bryce] and [spektakx] that hit our inbox within minutes of each other that both implement existing interfaces with iPads.

iPad turntable controller

[spektakx] sent in an iPad powered DJ MIDI controller he built as a prototype to test out the size, orientation and layout for an upcoming build. The turntable controllers are simple USB affairs made to jog and scratch records digitally. Although [spektakx] admits it’s a little unfinished, it’s still just a prototype. Also, he can use a Windows 7 tablet laptop for ‘more suited’ hardware. Check out [spektakx]‘ video demo after the break.

an iPad cash register

[Hacktheory] found [Bryce]‘s Flickr photolog of a DIY ‘Square’ cash register. The electronics part of this build is practically non-existent; it’s just an iPad with a credit card readers that plugs into the headphone jack. Yes, we just saw these ‘Square’ credit card readers this last week. The fabrication portion of this build is incredible – [Bryce] has a few wonderful pieces of walnut there, and did an exceptional job with the wood work. It’s probably not well suited to high-volume retail, but we couldn’t think of a better cash register for a boutique shop.

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DIY scratch controller

There’s something viscerally pleasing about simple solutions. [Kip] came up with one in the form of a scratch controller. The spindle from an optical drive is used to hold a CD in place, which acts as the LP for scratching. The sensor from an optical mouse is mounted upside down below the CD and detects the rotation of the disc. From there it’s just a matter of setting up your software to get the reading from that mouse. He’s had some trouble finding disc surfaces that the mouse sensor will read reliably.  We’d recommend trying some of those stick-on inkjet CD labels.

This is similar to a scratch controller we saw in 2008. That one was actually repurposing the IR encoding from inside of a mouse. We’re not sure which method would work better, but either controller will make a nice addition to a Flexi Knob setup.

Generating MIDI with Ruby

[Giles Bowkett] has been working on a music library for Ruby called Archaeopteryx. He describes it as a “Ruby MIDI DJing/live-coding thing“. In the video above, He’s using it to generate and then morph rhythms. The Ruby code is directly controlling the step sequencer in Reason. It’s an interesting approach to music development. The video above gives a full intro to the probability approach to generation. To really get a feel for the library, we suggest you watch his presentation from RubyFringe. It shows him playing music by editing a live block of code. Check out his Vimeo feed for many more demo videos.

[via CDM]

Aurora mixer now available


It’s been a long time coming but that highly sought after open source mixer, the aurora224 is now available for purchase on the company’s website. The aurora mixer is a fully programmable USB mixer complete with 24 back lit knobs, 2 faders, and a single crossfader.

While the instructions on how to assemble your own mixer from scratch have been available for sometime now, many wanted a kit complete with everything needed to avoid having to source the parts themselves.

The aurora mixer is available in 2 versions, a fully assembled turn key deck and a DIY kit that requires the use of a soldering iron and the ability to follow directions.

So, if you’ve wanted to build your own aurora mixer but never knew where to start, this may be your lucky day. Don’t wait too long as you have until September 1st to get your order in.