We’ve been watching and waiting intently as ToorCamp comes together. It’s a four day hacker conference that will be held in a Washington state missile silo July 2nd-5th. While we’re excited about this debut event, its success depends entirely on those presenting. The call for papers is currently open and they’ve got a number of formats available: 20 and 50 minute talks and 1 and 2 day workshops. They’re also looking for people to organize campsites and are offering discounts for groups. We’re encouraging you to submit your talk since we’d love to see more hardware talks. You can follow @ToorCamp announcements on Twitter.
A team of three PhD students constructed this ‘multi-mallet automatic drumming instrument (Madi)‘. Their Expressive Machines Musical Instruments site is dedicated to building instruments like this and they recently showed their work at the first annual Guthman Musical Instrument Competition. A ‘low-stakes X Prize’ for musical instruments. 25 applicants were chosen to show their unique musical instruments for $10K in prizes. We like the team’s Madi because it’s adapting a traditional instrument and then pushing it to the limit. It reminds us of the Crazy J mechatronic guitar from 2005. You can see a video of the Madi playing below.
[Jeremy] picked up a Vexplorer pretty cheap, and wanted to make it better. He decided that Arduino controls would probably be a nice upgrade. He patched into the controller and installed a nice looking plug to interface with the Arduino. He says the software was custom made as he couldn’t find suitable examples on the net. His software is available for download. We covered a picaxe controlled one in January, but it looks like that site is currently down.