Laptop Trackpads and MIDI Controllers

pads

A bunch of pads connected to a MIDI out port is as old an idea as the Akai MPC. creating a homebrew version is great, but [Scott] took his version one step further. He used old laptop trackpads to control note on and note off commands when the each pad is tapped, and also added MIDI CC values for the touch pressure and the x and y-axis position.

The trackpads were identical models, each having their own PS/2 output. A few ribbon cable to 8-pin header adapters were manufactured, and the entire ensemble encased in a wonderful maple and aluminum enclosure.

The electronics are based on an Arduino Mega with 16 clock and data points for each touchpad eating up 32 of the 54 available pins on the ‘duino. The PS/2 protocol is well documented, but running 16 separate PS/2 id most certainly not. [Scott] ended up writing his own asynchronous PS/2 communications library to get the latency of his midi device down to about 50ms.

It’s an amazing bit of kit and comparatively inexpensive, given that [Scott] now has a 16-channel Kaoss pad. Video of the device hooked up to a MicroKorg below.

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Making karaoke worse

kaoss belt

Karaoke just isn’t fair. Not only do you have people who can’t sing choosing to belt out extremely difficult to sing songs, but the variety of songs generally isn’t that great. In an effort to make the karaoke situation at the pubs he frequents better – or worse, depending on how you look at it – [cosmic blooper] is now bringing a vocal effects processor to karaoke. Yes, now he’s got pitch shifting that takes him into [Bieber] territory, and auto tune to emulate the [T-Pain] and the Black Eyed Peas.

To bring the world of synths and effects to a karaoke party, [cosmic blooper] took a battery-powered Kaoss Pad and attached it to his belt with the help of some sheet metal. An RCA to XLR adapter connects the Kaoss Pad to the karaoke microphone, while a mic of questionable quality takes [blooper]‘s voice to be transmuted into a horrifying display of effects and pitch shifters.

There’s no video of [cosmic blooper]‘s karaoke machine in action, but he tells us he’ll be getting one up soon.

Adding remote touch control to the Kaoss Pad

touchosc_kaoss

[Munki] enjoys using his Kaoss Pad MIDI controller to add a new dimension to his music while playing guitar. The only thing that bothers him about the Kaoss Pad interface is that it can be difficult to trigger or alter effects in the middle of a bitchin’ guitar solo. He started looking around to see if there was a way to control the Kaoss Pad wirelessly via a touchscreen and found that with a little tweaking, his iPhone was a perfect candidate for the job.

He grabbed a copy of TouchOSC from the AppStore and configured it to communicate with his computer. After building an interface for his iPhone, he taped it to his guitar and gave it a try. Everything seemed to work pretty well, but he didn’t stop there – he also wanted to control Ableton Live and Max MSP from his iPhone. It took a bit of research and some tinkering with the Live API, but he eventually got everything working together nicely as you can see in the video below.

If you are interested in trying this out yourself, he has several useful links throughout his article, and he has made his TouchOSC/Max MSP patch available for download as well.

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