The Siftables Music Sequencer

The Siftables Music Sequencer lets you drop samples into a looping track, add gesture-controlled effects and alter the sequence of samples in real time.

The sequencer is one application of MIT researcher David Merrill’s Siftables:

Imagine overturning a container of nuts and bolts, then looking through the resulting pile for a particular item. Or spreading photographs out on a tabletop and then beginning to sort them into piles. During these activities we interact with large numbers of small objects at the same time, and they utilize all of our fingers and both hands together. We humans are skilled at using our hands in these ways, and can effortlessly sift and sort – focusing on our higher level goals rather than the items themselves.

Siftables aims to enable people to interact with information and media in physical, natural ways that approach interactions with physical objects in our everyday lives. As an interaction platform, Siftables applies technology and methodology from wireless sensor networks to tangible user interfaces. Siftables are independent, compact devices with sensing, graphical display, and wireless communication capabilities. They can be physically manipulated as a group to interact with digital information and media. Siftables can be used to implement any number of gestural interaction languages and HCI applications.

Do you think that a physical sequencer like this makes sense for increasingly software-driven music?

via Peter Kirn

5 thoughts on “The Siftables Music Sequencer

  1. I don’t think it matters whether it makes sense in a practical production setting or not. It’s here and it looks awesome! I think every innovation, no matter how niche, has it’s place and potential to shine. I picture this set up ideal for producers who have a good ear, but know very little about proper software manipulation, and great for producers who do know what they’re doing, but simply want to reduce steps between their brain and results -I think everyone can appreciate that. Sifting and sorting are two of humanities oldest and most natural pastimes, therefore this set up does make a lot of sense to me.

  2. Anthony –

    There’s a lot to be said for new approaches. It seems like some of the most creative music has come from people using things in unintended ways!

  3. True that! This sequencing arrangement reminds me of something Brian Eno would come up with in that it’s a drastic simplification of an otherwise more complicated process.

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