Bored with mouse pushing and knob twiddling? The d-touch tangible sequencer / drum machine makes a cheap interface (with free downloadable software) for assembling sequences. Make some (attractive) blocks, set up a webcam, and plug into your computer. I took a first look at this tool last month, and noted its use in sequencing walnuts. (Yes, the ones that fall from trees.) Since then, the developers have been hard at work on updates. Enrico writes:
We just released the d-touch sequencer, a new, more advanced, audio application. In the sequencer you can record your own samples in real time.
We also have few updates for the drum machine, which should solve the activation problems we were having at the beginning.
Go grab the markers and the software, and you have your own webcam-based drum machine.
Should you decide to go beyond their free instrument, the underlying system is really quite sophisticated. Part of what makes it beautiful is that you can design your own markers rather than settling for predefined patterns, as with most similar marker-tracking systems. There’s even a tool for correcting problems in your design. The freely-downloadable analysis software is written in C/C++, but if you use another environment (like Max or Processing or Reaktor), you can simply pipe data to your tool of choice.
The drum machine and sequencer are available now, so go download them and let you know how you fare! System requirements: a printer, a webcam, and a PC/Mac. Enjoy!
For some hands-on impressions of working with these things, the excellent PC Music Guru has a great description of the experience. Or, if you read the language, there’s a Japanese-language hands-on blog entry.