Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Audiopad Mixes Electronic Music

The Audiopad is being developed by a pair of MIT grad students, James Patten and Ben Recht in order to allow a new and unique composing experience using existing techniques. It is an application of earlier work they’ve done on new computer interfaces. Audiopad is a composition and performance instrument for electronic music which tracks the positions of objects on a tabletop surface and converts their motion into music.

The Audiopad consists of a matrix of antenna elements that track the positions of electronically tagged objects on a tabletop surface. The Audiopad software translates this positioning information into musical and graphical feedback on the tabletop, where each object represents either a musical track or a microphone.

The performer can load his own audio samples and seamlessly combine them with the samples that are pre-installed on the device. Patten and Recht reject the use of a simple touch screen or tablet PC and say that the Audiopad was designed so one can interact with the device using multiple physical objects that could be moved. According to Patten and Recht, it is much easier to interact with physical objects than with touch screens because your hands receive passive tactile feedback from the objects, helping you to move them without requiring much visual attention. This is what tools for electronic performance music should be like. Watch video below.

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