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MIT Students' Audiopad Mixes Electronic Music 122

nicodemus05 writes "Grad students at MIT's Media Lab have come up with an innovative control device called the Audiopad to run their digital music studio. The Audiopad, ' a composition and performance instrument for electronic music which tracks the positions of objects on a tabletop surface and converts their motion into music.' It's practical, but more importantly it looks really, really cool."
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MIT Students' Audiopad Mixes Electronic Music

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  • by srinner ( 68596 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:32AM (#6497588) Homepage
    some years ago there was a toy-company called Zowie (bought by LEGO as far as I know) they had two products - a "pirate ship" and a "garden" where you could frrely move around some small dolls and their accurate position was transmitted to a connected PC - they did all the positioning stuff some custom chip included in the toy - so producing this stuff cheap in large quanitities is no problem at all

    - stefan
  • Re:Its practical (Score:3, Informative)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:37AM (#6497603)
    Already been done. It's called a Theremin.

  • Re:Its practical (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:43AM (#6497620)
    Leon Theremin did that back in the 20's. It was called a Terpsitone [] and worked off of body capacitance.
  • Theremin (Score:5, Informative)

    by zoeblade ( 600058 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:45AM (#6497623) Homepage

    If you want to wave your arms around [] to make music, you still can't beet a Theremin.

  • by Tmurder ( 661223 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:20AM (#6497692)
    As it seems the MIT site is slowly being slashdotted... here is a different site [] with a demonstration video.
  • by ev3nly ( 261504 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:45AM (#6497759)
    what's really neat is the interface... being able to move sounds around in a 3d space and manipulate the samples/loops with a completely uncluttered interface. This is the main problem with vst/softsynths, being able to use them in real time w/o a midi controller. The ideas is to get as close as you physically can to the music be made and computers.Audiopad does this thru least one computer to do it's job and radio tagging of the objects being moved around the table. The reason something like this won't go commercial for a long time is b/c there are no real new ideas as far as the actual sound manipulation is concerned. See ableton live []for example or jeskola buzz. []
  • Re:Done before? (Score:3, Informative)

    by radish ( 98371 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:05AM (#6498046) Homepage
    The most obvious difference is that the KaossPad isn't an instrument, it's an FX module. Basically you have a bunch of 2 paramater filters and an x/y touchpad to control those 2 parameters. Wicked good fun and slots nicely into a DJ setup, but in my experience only about 10 of the 50-odd presets are actually worth using. The low/high pass filters, some of the reverbs, and phasers etc sound good. A lot of the coarser echos, fx "noises" etc sound awful. The sampler is also annoyingly limited to only 5 seconds, which is just too short for a full phrase at a normal 135bpm :( Still, a fun toy, and the girls always love it for some reason (flashing lights and bits to rub?).

    I believe you can use it as a midi controller as well, but again you're going to be pretty limited (I guess a couple of continuous controllers?). My understanding of the article is that the MIT thing is a lot more flexible.
  • by lastsamurai ( 683194 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:28AM (#6498933)
    Earlier this year at a Boston concert, Tod Machover showcased Beatbugs s.html Concert staff were telling everyone that Beatbugs would be available for sale this Christmas through a major toy manufacturer. That's great for getting music into the hands of kids at an early age and also for breaking through the classism that plagues intellectual music, but is the "music" that's being created really something that anyone (other than grandma) wants to listen to?
  • by shaniber ( 38661 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:24AM (#6499601) Homepage Journal
    actually, it's based on
    a pair of modified commercially available Wacom Intuous(TM) sensing tablets that are placed next to each other to form a 52cm x 77cm sensing surface.
    this is taken from an article published in the Proceedings of CHI 2001, March 31 - April 5 2001. so, you're right!

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