Hack Media: Monome


Stop. Watch the video. Monome is an 8×8 grid of backlit buttons for music control. That’s pretty much it. The demo video does an awesome job showing some of the possibilities and I’m sure there will be many interesting developments in the future. I’d love to see what adding a second color for feedback would do.

Will O’Brien from Engadget and I will be attending Make Faire next weekend, where you’ll be able to see and play with the Monome first-hand. We hope to see some of you there.

[via Create Digital Music and Music Thing]

29 thoughts on “Hack Media: Monome

  1. anyone else go “OMG WANT”?! holy poop, that thing is damnnn awesome. $500 USD for the base, 8×8 model though..the 16×16 looks like there’d be a lot more functionality. the 40h looks like it would be more of an expensive toy than anything to get really productive with.
    i do agree with their standards for making them, but it sure hurts the consumer more (in the short term, at least).

  2. OK – so let me make sure I’m getting things straight here. You’re paying $500 for 64 rubber buttons that are individually backlit. Oh, and you get some software that translates pressing those buttons into commands on a computer. WOW!!! I definitely couldn’t do that with a $10 microcontroller and $20 worth of parts.

    Oh wait, I could.

  3. #6, Yeah, same thing for me. I like making electronic music, I have no idea how to use trackers, but this looks kind of easy to use, I just wish it was around $100 dollars, not $500 dollars. :)

  4. To mike n, or anyone else thinking of building one of these:

    I’d suggest checking out a hand-held game called “lights out” made by tiger toys. check it out here: http://www.mit.edu/~kbarr/lo/

    As you can see, its buttons are nearly identical to the ones on this midi device. i’ve seen versions of this toy at resale shops many times for next to nothing. in my opinion, it would make a great starting point for such a project :)

  5. #9, glad you agree — I’m in the same boat viz-a-vis trackers; I mainly use reason 3.0 and a software midi keyboard program for playing around. I’m more interested in live performance stuff, though, and it’s the ease of use and simplicity that interests me most with the monome.

  6. #9, #12,

    Ease of use is exactly why I gravitated toward the electribes about 6 years ago – and probably why everyone and their mother’s uncle has come up with something similar. Sadly, all this kind of stuff seems to settle around a $500 price-point for new equipment. I’d love to see just a nice tactile controller like this (no brains, just buttons) for $100. I can write the software myself.

    I saw Haujobb and Architect a few days ago – they really could have used something like this.

  7. #11 beat me to it. This is nearly identical to the lights out game. I still have one from my LSD days. You hit a button, and it toggles the light on that button and the 4 lights around it (or 3 lights around it for an edge, 2 for a corner). The object was to clear the board, so all the lights were out. Fun. Very cool looking on acid. Found it in the bargain bin at Kaybee toys.

    For anyone interested in that sort of thing, I also recommend a game called “Light Wars” also by Tiger. It is a circular ring of lights, with 4 “control pad” type things. It is a multi play game, where each play has 2 buttons. The object was to “bounce” the light “ball” around, hitting it with your left or right button “paddle”. The light would move faster and faster, and if it hit the light in front of you, you lost a life (3 total I think). There was another mode called lockdown, where you had to hit both paddles when it was in the center, to “lock” the light there, and you get a point. You release the light and it starts moving faster. Another mode was like the first but with 2 light “balls”. The 4th mode was a 4 player game, with the player opposite you as a partner, and you both had to hit the same paddle at the same time.

    Very interesting social game to play on drugs. All huddled around this 80’s looking space game tripping out of your skull.

    Sorry. Resume hacker talk now.

  8. Quote:
    I definitely couldn’t do that with a $10 microcontroller and $20 worth of parts.

    Oh wait, I could.
    Sorry, but no you couldn’t. An aluminum panel like the one shown will cost you about $100-125 USD alone. Then, have fun trying to find you backlit buttons – you’d not find any commercial manufacturers of them; instead you’ll have to order a custom run, so look forward to $500 in tooling costs and about a dollar per part. Now, go get some fecl to etch your plates, there’s another $20-30. Then spend a few months most likely working out the details – perhaps your time is worthless though so maybe that isn’t a cost to you.

    If you claim you can do it, DO IT, or at least offer evidence of how you WOULD DO IT. Otherwise, shut it.

  9. Would the aluminium be strictly necessary though? Wouldn’t a self-built model be based purely on functionality instead of asthetics? If I were to make one (which I have neither the funds nor knowledge to do), I would be more concerned with whether it works properly than whether the panel is aluminium or plastic.

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