While we’re on the subject of making your own custom musical/visual interfaces, none other than a college friend of mine, Jesse Mejia, has a tip on a great starter board that fills the non-MIDI niche nicely:

I’m not sure if you’re working with sensors much these days, or what you may be using to interface them if you are – but I had been rather frustrated with the commercial options available. There seem to be a lot of interfaces in the $100-$200 price range that unfortunately spec down to MIDI, and a lot of extremely expensive high-end solutions that support more robust protocols. A good friend of mine who is now studying at UCSB pointed my towards a high-quality and inexpensive solution offered by a lecturer he TA’s for at the Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology.

CUI: Create USB Interface Project Page

It’s a great potential DIY project, but he also offers the device pre-built for $50. Pretty fantastic considering it’s a 10 bit USB HID with plenty of analog and digital I/O for sensors, or whatever else you might want to play with. Also it already has externals written for Max/MSP/Jitter and Supercollider. And on the DIY front, it would be even cheaper to build and it looks a good first microcontroller project for people haven’t programmed a PIC before.

Looks fantastic; thanks, Jesse!

Best of all, you can use the USB input to save you the trouble of getting data from your custom board/sensors to your computer, since your computer can recognize it as a standard game/input device. There are a lot of boards out there these days (you might consider Arduino alongside this one), but some are certainly emerging as very useful to a broad range of DIYers, musicians, and artists. This one makes my short list.

Of course, this also wins points as we love any title involving “Create Something Something.”

  • http://www.arj.no Alexander Refsum Jen

    We have made an overview of different sensor interfaces on the SensorWiki site.

  • http://dougtheriault.tandjrec.com/ Doug Theriault

    This board is not really ready for the big time yet. The sensors you install need to have a weighted average to smooth out the high bit signal. Even if you use this, this board still produces enough noise to where your fine adjustment of something like "Pitch" on a sampler will studer. Not recommend for people who want to "Plug and Play" right away. Many bugs need ironing out on this. I have one myself and have been trying to fix this for months….

    doug theriault

  • http://dougtheriault.tandjrec.com/ Doug Theriault

    But, if you want a small interface that can be programmed and used with as many as 13 analog inputs, there is nothing else that comes close. Check out Dan's site here: http://www.create.ucsb.edu/~dano/

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  • Bryan

    Id like to know if anyone has had similar experiences to Dougs'. Where is this noise coming from, and how can it be fixed? Could make it unusable for me, but this thing looks great. the best part is that if you build it yourself you can build it into whatever your using it with on the same board. :)

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