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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 lennart78 ( 515598 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:02AM (#6497506)
    I've actually seen this device in action and I was amazed. I think the way it interacts with the user/musician is something a lot of people are looking for. Let's hope some manufacturers of musical devices take note of this project and incorporate some of it's ideas in products that can be made available for a broader range of people.
  • Done before? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by m1kesm1th ( 305697 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:23AM (#6497563)
    I haven't had time to see the site in action, probably due to the slashdot effect.

    From the description, other than using a tabletop as its active surface, i'm wondering how different it is to Korg's Kaosspad in functionality.
  • by minghe ( 441878 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:27AM (#6497569)
    This could probably be made with more affordable hardware, like a TFT touch screen, or even a regular monitor and an XY pad. It would take a slight adjustment of the original constuction, interface-wise. But the main idea would still be applicable.

    The really low budget version of this would be a software-only product controlled by mouse. It would probably sell, even though some functionality would probably be lost.
  • sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by den_erpel ( 140080 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:42AM (#6497618) Homepage Journal
    This is just another one of those MIT projects that makes it to slashdot. Just as you seem to have chain effect in 'peer review' processes, it's not because it is spectacular that it gets published, but mainly because it is from place X or Y.

    Loads of universities create student projects but they basically give it the attention it deserves: they are student projects; practical definately, revolutionary, not by far. Their main purpose is to give students a direct experience with real life toy projects. Real life, because in those projects, several aspects from real systems are included. Toy because students do not have the time to really do the advanced design and testing a profesional project requires.
  • Nothing new... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ( 579491 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:02AM (#6497653)
    Max/MSP and Pure Data have been doing stuff like this for years. The only thing "unique" here is the fact that they aren't using a mouse, and that's just a bunch of standard Max/MSP and PD externals. Bleh.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:10AM (#6497669)
    All those "this changes music" "all instruments are obsolete" etc posts...

    There is NO synthesis in the video... it's all from prerecorded loops, that they probably didn't even make themselves.

    IE. Pure gimmick!
  • Re:Sounds great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Illserve ( 56215 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:53AM (#6497781)
    There's value in tradition.
  • Re:sigh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by skirch ( 126930 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:07AM (#6498367) Homepage
    This is just another one of those MIT projects that makes it to slashdot.

    I'm sorry, but did you even go to the page? Did you watch the movie? It's frickin' rad!

    Who cares if this is just another one of those MIT projects. This is a useful, fun, and ingenious toy! People (i.e. me) are giving this project attention because it's interesting and unique, not because it's from MIT. Please.

  • by Makarakalax ( 658810 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:23AM (#6498457) Homepage
    Oh come on, the interface is everything to an instrument. Instruments vary in only two ways, firstly the sound they produce, and secondly the way they have to be manipulated to produce those sounds.

    This instrument may be similar to the device you reference, however its novel and easy to manipulate interface will allow completely new sounds to be woven into compositions. I'd wager that an experienced artist could make music with this device that he couldn't do with any other instrument - but I'd need to read more about it first.

    So to argue more directly with your point: The user interface would be the whole point if it actually helped the user achieve something in a more efficient fashion... but it doesn't do anything that doesn't already exist. The interface is the whole point and it does help the user either make music more efficiently, or to make completely new types of composition. I'd say both, but I expect you'd have to ask someone who's made music with it.
  • by shaniber ( 38661 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:28AM (#6499659) Homepage Journal
    this in itself might not be commercially viable, but it makes an interesting case study in applications of their Sensetable, which this is based on. They've demonstrated the use of this tool in the demonstration of molecular interactions, as well as tracking business methods. it's seriously interesting HCI stuff.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger