We are Bhoreal from MID New Media Design on Vimeo.

Grids are suddenly everywhere – in music control, but also in visuals and art. And they’re lighting up in RGB. But Bhoreal promises to do some things other grids aren’t. Whereas the monome is a truly beautiful, handmade and rare object, its rarity – by design – means it’s hard to get. And readily-available commercial products aren’t open source, and while they fit certain needs elegantly, they’re designed to stick to those needs rather than allow easy modification.

Bhoreal is this kind of blank-slate, do-anything colored grid you can turn into whatever you imagine. It isn’t the first open source grid project, but it appears to be aiming to be the first for a bigger audience. (If it seems like the Arduinome, that’s because it’s built on that project – but expands its goals and implementation.) Products are planned in kit form, but also in a slim, ready-made model – and ready-made doesn’t mean closed to modification. And best of all, that same slim model is wireless and battery-powered, so you aren’t tethered to a surface.

They’re not there yet; the team is offering a crowdfunding project. But while crowd-funded endeavors show up daily in my inbox, this one has a really talented team behind it. (PS, yes, more news on our own crowdfunded app soon.)

The only real bad news is, as hardware like Push moves to velocity and pressure sensitivity, these are still push buttons. Solving that could be ideal for hardware collaboration. But otherwise, it looks promising:

  • Serial, OSC, MIDI, for mapping to whatever you like (sequencers to instruments to game interfaces to displays and visuals).
  • Software for Windows, Mac, Linux.
  • Creative Commons licensing.
  • Kits come with circuit boards and parts you need for assembly.
  • Minikit: 16 pads, DIY kit, low cost.
  • Kit: 64 pads, DIY. Adds base/cover enclosure.
  • Slim: ready-to-play, pre-assembled 64 pads. Thin enclosure, all on one PCB.
  • Slim Pro: Wireless OSC communication over WiFi, high-capacity lithium battery – use it and move around.

bhoreal2

bhoreal1

A lot of people have in some way touched this design, or the designs that led to it. Arduinome was the original inspiration, Octinct the RGB variation, Barcelona’s Hangar Arts Production Centre Interaction Lab added more development incubation, and this project is now “being promoted and developed by MID, an interaction design studio especializing in the development of installations and hardware projects.”

Some significant design work is clearly already there; the crowd funding campaign aims at more production and an entire Web platform and documentation and community around the project. Also in the works: apps for Android, iOS, and an app SDK.

It’s worth saying they’re not just looking for money – though the money rewards are fairly significant. They’re also looking for collaborators on some of the new ideas.

It’s promising-looking stuff. Full details on the project site:
http://goteo.org/project/bhoreal/
https://www.facebook.com/Bhoreal

The team – and thanks to Alex and Antonia Folguera for sending this in:

Alex Posada: engineer at Hangar Interaction Lab, Faculty at IAAC and founder of MID.
Miguel Angel de Heras: engineer at MID and Hangar Interaction Lab.
Enrique Leonardo Perotti: industrial designer and co-founder of Manifiesto Studio.
Aitor Aloa: designer and AV integrator, founder of Reflexiona.
Susanna Garcia: creative producer, co-founder of Mind the film.

  • Robert Halvarsson

    Looks good!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1543525531 Paul Rose

    Yes, I want one! Alex Posada’s work is mindblowing, I had the chance to see his “Particle” on last year’s Merce Festival in Barcelona, and it was one of the best visualisation/electronic music things I have seen in my life.

  • Anangel Argonaut

    Let’s all move to Barcelona.

  • dcbeckster

    Wow this looks awesome…on to Barcelona!

  • http://twitter.com/WeirdEarRecords Weird Ear Records

    I’ve been having so much trouble understanding the enthusiasm here and across the board (for the most part) for these sorts of controllers, I feel like it’s hard enough to make electronic music breathe and sound alive as it is, without insinuating a literal grid onto the proceedings… How are you gonna break out of your box with a box of boxes? For something that’s supposed to free you to do whatever you want with it, i find that the rigidity of the grid design serves as a reinforcement of what makes so much electronic music rather boring and samey sounding these days…

    I know there’s millions of other ways to make and control sound, but the amount of grid controllers on the market today beggars belief.

    Can someone point me towards any performers using grid controllers that don’t use them for strictly quantized and segregated beat music?

    • Anangel Argonaut
    • heinrichz

      quantization has been at the core of electronic dance music since the days of early step sequencers and the grid is its best visual representation. quantization has empowered millions to make music without prior intrumental training. you dont need to go unquantized to make. your music breath…it can all be done with compsotion, velocity, and the right sound design. It is toatlly possible to make great music with machines and groups like Kraftwerk already understood that 40 years ago.

    • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.ijsselstein Patrick Ijsselstein

      turn quantization off?

    • http://twitter.com/braduro James

      Like you, I do what I can to keep an open mind. Reminds me of those first skateboards with the rollerskate trucks. There is a reason why even an accordion has more inherent musicality built into its interface, and why theoretically no instrument before the MPC-paradigm has arrived at the conclusion that a grid is a logical organization. And then when you do program a grid to make sense, it becomes such an intimate and personal form of logic or applicable to a single instance of musical arrangement such that others will wonder what universal merit the design offers as an instrument.

      Ableton Push is actually the first design that managed to force its way into my brain. The constraints for building loops and scenes seem to work for me, as well as the theory and playability behind the scale layout. Still, I think this is one place where the same layout is afforded more musical expression outside the grid and on a screen, but hopefully it will inspire you.

      http://createdigitalmusic.com/2011/03/pythagoras-upcoming-ipad-app-recasts-frets-to-make-them-more-harmonic/

  • Powersv2

    so for about $315 USD, you get a better monome, plus the software and utilities.

  • crozz

    i’ve been hoping to see an 8×16 or longer 8×24 show up but alas. i wonder how well the software would mesh if you add more squares on ?

    • mellonhead

      video mentions the kits are modular, there will be a way to daisy chain many grids together.

  • http://twitter.com/gesslr gesslr

    Wow. This cool. And I’d love to work for a company like that….

  • gyorkies

    It took an entire lab to take a monome and make it a little bit thinner.

  • http://www.camelaudio.com/ Chris Sciurba

    Very interesting – well worth keeping an eye on this one.

  • http://twitter.com/LiveControl ST8

    I’m interested to know what the form factor of these is. Are they based on the sparkfun sized pads? (they look largish from the photos) I always found the arduinome to be a little on the large sized compared to the monome equivalent

  • 785656985425

    Doesn’t this go against Brian’s non-commercial open-source thing that the arduinome was developed using? It looks okay, and if they can further develop user-friendly drivers etc for what was originally called the Chronome, then great, but at least be honest about it. Unless, of course they have Brian’s blessing. Which I understand they don’t.