An Inexpensive Multi-Touch Interface For Music

This video captures a demo of Randy Jones’ $50 multi-touch interface prototype – an 8 x 8 touch sensitive array sampled at 1300 Hz. 

The project is part of Jones’ M.Sc Thesis, Intimate Control for Physical Modeling Synthesis.


Physical modeling synthesis has proven to be a successful method of synthesizing realistic sounds, but providing expressive controls for performance remains a major challenge. This thesis presents a new approach to playing physical models, based on multidimensional signals. Its focus is on the long-term research question, “How can we make a computer-mediated instrument with control intimacy equal to the most expressive acoustic instruments?” In the material world, the control and sounding properties of an instrument or other object are intimately linked by the object’s construction. Multidimensional signals, used as connections between a gestural controller and a physical model, can in principle provide the same intimacy. This work presents a new, low-cost sensor design capable of generating a 2D force signal, a new implementation of the 2D digital waveguide mesh, and two experimental computer music instruments that combine these components using different metaphors. The new instruments are evaluated in terms of intimacy, playability and plausibility. Multidimensional connections between sensors and a physical model are found to facilitate a high degree of control intimacy, and to reproduce as emergent behavior some important phenomena associated with acoustic instruments.


via Make

4 thoughts on “An Inexpensive Multi-Touch Interface For Music

  1. really a beaulty … i want one of this too !!!copper ,plastic rubber and wood. the hard thing is programming in pure data or max msp…or anything like this.

  2. My thoughts exactly.

    The audio interface part seems like a kludge & isn’t included in the $50.

    Nevertheless, it’s an extremely cool project.

  3. That is incredibly well done, a very impressive piece of work. No matter that the audio interface is needed for usage, the underlying physical interface itself is very expressive and seems to react extremely rapidly in realtime, as he mentioned, an essential requirement for working with live audio. Also, looking at the video, it appears to be velocity as well as touch sensitive?
    Judging by the structure of the device, and the line inputs/outputs, it would appear to be possibly limited by the number of I/O ports on the soundcard (8 in, 8 out = 64 touchpoints). However, if it was a case of line voltages rather than signal frequencies, this could possibly be disbanded with, and allow for much greater gridsizes/higher board resolutions? Just a thought. Anyway though, that’s a very impressive physical UI, and not least because of the price involved!

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