Open Sound Control (OSC), an open protocol that can be used in place of MIDI, isn’t the right tool for everything. Hooking up a 4-octave keyboard with some knobs, for instance, makes a whole lot more sense in MIDI, and MIDI is widely supported. But I like OSC’s open-ended message structure for devices like the Nintendo Wii.

On Windows, the dominant Wii tool GlovePIE already supports OSC via scripts. On Mac, several of you pointed us to OSCulator, a tool that lets you turn input from the Wii into OSC messages (Max/MSP, Flash, Processing, Reaktor, Traktor, and others support OSC), and route MIDI to programs that don’t support OSC (everything else).

Just what might you use this for? Matrixsynth beats me to a video demonstrating the Wii as controller for the advanced synthesis tool Kyma (software) / Capybara (DSP hardware):

Now we’re talking. Here’s some smart use of the Wii’s control capabilities:

  1. Sensor bar for X/Y control. Harp-like glissandi (X axis) and traditional X/Y assignments.
  2. Pitch/yaw. Tilt for additional control.
  3. Acceleration gestures. The accelerometer can be used for a “conductor” or “drum stick” effect, as employed by Nintendo in the Wii Music demo.
  4. Combining Nunchuk: Two controllers allow more refined control, such as:
  5. Wii Theremin: Two gestural controllers give you the basic two-handed arrangement of the original Theremin — without the calibration problems caused by walking into the instrument’s wireless range.

Well done, “inthegray”!

Amusingly enough, the most successful experiment is arguably the Theremin; ah, the classics. But you can also see the potential of combining two or three critical elements, focusing on what is expressive and controllable, and being clever with assignments. Check out the whole video for lots of inspiration, and then get cracking on your own software instruments!

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