All posts filed under “Sound

Reactable Mobile


The team that brought us the powerful Reactable have put their work in turning the tangible instrument into an iPhone/iPad app. Reactable Mobile is priced at $10, which in app store world is not the norm these days, but it is a quality product for people serious with their music making.


* Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
* High quality 44kHz stereo sound quality
* Accelerometer and microphone input
* 20 virtual objects
* Import of custom samples and loops
* Save and share your sessions

A set of generator objects:
- loop players, with possibility to upload your own loops,
- synthesizers, with a large range of instruments to select from,
- oscillators, to synthesise pure and complex tones,
- input, to get audio directly from the device’s microphone.

A set of effects to modify generated sounds:
- wave shapers: distortion, compression, and resampling,
- delays: reverb, feedback, and ping-pong,
- modulators: ring modulation, chorus, and flanger,
- filters: low pass, high pass, and band pass.

A set of controller objects to modify other objects parameters:
- sequencers, with step-by-step, matrix, or random modes,
- low frequency oscillators (LFO), with different waveforms,
- accelerometer, to fetch data from the movement of the device.

A set of global objects to modify the settings of the entire table:
- tempo, to change the speed of the table,
- volume, to lower or increase the loudness,
- tonalizer, to change the harmony of the melody.



Sound Interjection, Yuri Suzuki

Last week Yuri Suzuki had his first major show open in London (KK Outlet) until the end of September. Featuring some old works and new ones, each giving a playful physical interaction with sound, such as…

Colour Chaser
Colour Chaser

Colour Chaser detects and follows black line whilst it reads the colour and translate the colour RGB data into sound.” video below.

rec & play
rec & play

rec & play“, a collaboration with Oscar Diaz, using magnetic ink, REC (red) pen records sound and PLAY (black) pen plays the recorded sound. Video shown below.

Plus many more sound devices. Photos of the exhibition opening here.

Fine Collection of Curious Sound Objects

Fine Collection of Curious Sound Objects

Fine Collection of Curious Sound Objects, created by Georg Reil and Kathy Scheuring, are described as…

“The arrangement includes six exceptional exhibits from the world of sounds and acoustics. At first sight looking trivial, each object incorporates a very unique ability.

The magical character of each object is accompanied with a little story, almost completely concealing the existence of technical components such as speakers or sensors. Only small connection ports as well as the uniform black finishing point to their unusual abilities.

In form and functionality all these exhibits pursue John Maeda’s „Simplicity“. They are enjoying to use, they are surprising and one wants to explore and investigate them.”

Fine Collection of Curious Sound Objects

I particularly enjoyed the coffee grinder (shown top), allowing you to scrub through the sounds, the echo bag and the bucket that collects sounds that you pour out. Reminds me a little of Audio Shaker.

Watch video

Fine Collection of Curious Sound Objects

Analogue Tape Glove

Back in 2006 I wrote about Tape, an commission by Someth;ng for our Cybersonica exhibition. There is something authentic about playing in an easy way with real audio tape, rather than software and digital interfaces.

Analogue Tape Glove

So I was happy to see Analogue Tape Glove from collective Signal to Noise.

Instead of moving the tape over a play head, the tape is fixed stationary to a wall. As a participant, you wear a glove that has the playhead on your finger trip, allowing you to drag your finger over the tape to play the audio.


Analogue Tape Glove

Reactable Live


Hopefully you know the Reactable as they have been setting the bench-mark for tangible musical interfaces or years, with many people using their fiducial reacTivision tracking system.

Now the team in Barcelona have turned their research product into a limited run portable consumer item, aimed at musicians who want to use this live, aptly named Reactable Live.

The first 20 units (priced 9700 euros) have gone, but if you are interested you can join the waiting list

What is included
* Reactable Live! Core Component
* Table structure with projection surface
* Set of 25 musical blocks

What you need
* An Intel MacBook Pro or MacBook with a FireWire port
* A VGA or HDMI video adapter

Why do I post this? Well, I find it interesting to see something developing from a research project, into a museum, performance tool for the likes of Bjork, then finally a commercial product that has been well thought out and self contained. These videos show some of the production process, embedded below.


Sonic Wire Sculptor for iPhone

This is Sonic Wire Sculptor, an software musical instrument, made by the talented Amit Pitaru in 2003 (and onwards).

Sonic Wire Sculptor

Originally conceived as a performance tool for Pitaru, it later became an exhibit for touring to museums/festivals for public use.

“At its simplest form SonicWireSculptor is a novel 3D drawing tool and a unique musical instrument, but perhaps most important – its just fun to play with.”

What is so good about this piece is you can dive right in and draw these rotating tones, its very accessible. Yet if you spend a lot of time with it, you can delve deeper and play through delicate and intricate compositions.

Sonic Wire Sculptor

Zach Gage along with Pitaru have now created it as an iPhone/iTouch app (get it here). Following on from their work together on the software Rhonda, they had help with SWS from Zach Lieberman and drawings by James Paterson.

It translates very well to such a small device, considering the technical limitations of the hardware. You really must wear headphones to hear all the tones. Nice little touches for ease of use include background horizontal guide lines, seeing the start of the loop line and centre cross timing metronome. The app also lets you share your creation through email or twitter, uploaded and downloaded via the SWS site.

Hopefully we will see a HD iPad version, as well as online sharing gallery with ratings. Looking forward to hopefully seeing Rhonda on the iPad too.

You can follow updates on the app via @sonicwire

Musical Toys

Original Soundtrack

Quite a few blogs have been posting the concept Original Sound Track from Ricardo Seola recently (shown above). Watch video. A wooden toy train moves across a track, with its front teeth plinking across pegs on the track, inspired by a music box. You can then tack the track and build different layouts to alter the order of musical sequences.

The concepts reminds me of a combination of…


Sound Chaser, from Yuri Suzuki : watch video (vehicle drives around re-configurable vinyl to play audio).

And …

MUSIK LOK (1972)
“The little train has a small 8 note keyboard on the bottom. As it drives along the track, the coloured switches push the keys, so you get your own programmed melody. In other words, this is an analog step sequencer for 3-year old children”

(posted here)

Musical Heads

Three examples of crazy musical heads…

murat n konar
drum|head was a small project by murat n konar a few years ago whilst he was studying at the Royal College of Art. Its a simple idea but lots of fun. Project a video of his face on to a foam face, when hit like a drum the facial expression changes. Watch video.

Neurosonics Audiomedical Labs Inc.
Neurosonics Audiomedical Labs Inc
This year Chris Cairns created the short film Neurosonics Audiomedical Labs. A real labor of love for the director, featuring many talented musicians. Its very well done, watch here.

Nathaniel Mellor
Nathaniel Mellor
(image source: Mute)
Artist Nathaniel Mellor’s animatronic recreation of ‘The Father’ from Giantbum, 2009. “part of a $75,000 art piece on sale at Art Basel Miami Beach 2009″ (Via Engadget). Watch video.

The fun theory

Quite a few people have sent me The fun theory, a viral campaign from ad agency DDB Stockholm for Volkswagen.

“This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.”

I really like the concept of creating these playful experiments for the good of using our bodies & the environment.

The World’s Deepest Bin
fun theory
“To throw rubbish in the bin instead of onto the floor shouldn’t really be so hard. Many people still fail to do so. Can we get more people to throw rubbish into the bin, rather than onto the ground, by making it fun to do?”

I like this one best out of the two, particularly as its a new idea. Drop the litter in the bin and a sound plays making it seem like the rubbish is falling a very long distance to the bottom of a pit, encouraging you to put more rubbish in to the bin (or perhaps throwing away things that aren’t rubbish to hear the noise again, eek).

Piano Staircase
Piano Stairs
“Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do?”

Its nice, but the idea has been done many times before. This is the first time I’ve seen the stairs be made to look like white & black piano keys though, like the big piano toy.

1) Back in 2006 I wrote about Tuned Stairs
tuned stairs

2) Also by the Gainer team for the NTT ICC in Tokyo.
gainer musical stairs

3) And at the Museum of Science in Boston (watch videos).

4) Also in the Science Museum of Minnesota (watch video)

5) And finally also at the Sony Centre in Tokyo (watch video)
sony musical stairs

In true viral nature you will be able to upload your own video ideas on the theme to win a prize, so it’ll be interesting to see what concepts the people come up with.