The O-Bow Optical Bow Controller

Back in 2010, we featured a demo of Dylan Menzies’ O-Bow optical bow prototype, an experimental controller for electronic musicians.

Here’s a demo of the latest version (prototype 5). 

New feature summary:

  • robust tracking from low to high speeds.
  • bow contact parameter, enables ringing string sound when bow is removed while bowing.
  • all communication is using the USB-MIDI protocol providing immediate connection to music software.
  • cylindrical casing design for flexible configuration and orientation, for example using standard mic holder.
  • contact saddle manufactured from optimized CAD design, for bow engagement and tracking.
  • software moved to the Native Instruments Kontakt platform. The script language is strong enough to implement all the O-Bow features. This allows the O-Bow to operate as a virtual instrument in a wide variety of music software.
  • manipulations are possible on the control data directly in a sequencer.
  • speed to gain warping for a variety of playing feel.
  • new violin sample recordings, including ringing. The samples are for prototyping puposes only- fully professional samples will be incorporated later.

The O-Bow is currently a prototype.


7 thoughts on “The O-Bow Optical Bow Controller

  1. That’s awesome its been implemented into a Native Instruments platform. Is there any projected time that anyone might know when one of these will be available for purchase? Months? A Year? 3 Years? Wasn’t the first Prototype in 2010? And an estimated cost? I would seriously probably buy one right now, for a ridiculous amount…

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  2. Or at least point me in the direction of its development so I can keep track of it as it makes it ways to production…Do they have a website?

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