Keep watching: this LEGO sequencer, playing a littleBits synth kit, does something amazing. Sliding tiles around actually changes the sequence, all reading the blocks, in a terrific real-world, physical user interface. (Well, it certainly pleased the crowds at the Music Hack Day at SONAR in Barcelona.)

And yes, this means the team we saw earlier keeps working on this. Intrepid hackers can use the just-barely-hidden Lua back-end of Maschine to do their own custom scripting. More on that soon. In the meantime, let’s check out the details:

A Lego Sliding Puzzle Sequencer Controls NI Maschine to sequence three littleBits Synth Kits through control voltage (CV) from an Arduino.
Also sends out OpenSoundControl OSC and audio to control reactive visuals on different computers.

Interacting with rythmic patterns through a tangible sliding puzzle allows for some interesting polyrythmic adventures.

What's going on there?

Lego bricks can be placed on a eight transparent Lego base plates (16×16) to create rhythmic beat patterns.
Each of the eight baseplates holding the patterns can be moved around on a transparent surface. Whatever pattern (or part of a pattern) is placed in the center of the surface is filmed from below using a Webcam. The image of the brick pattern is analyzed and converted into Midi and OSC Messages that are sent to an Ardunio board, the Maschine Software (and another computer that generates dynamic visuals from the OSC Messages and the audio). An Arduino board turns the Midi Messages into control voltages to control three littleBits Synth kits that generate the sounds. Additional sounds can be injected from the Maschine software.

Made at Music Hack Day 2014 at the Sonar Festival, Barcelona.……

See the original LegoTechno Sequencer in action here:…

The Team:
Kristian Gohlke / Bauhaus-Universit├Ąt Weimar
Michael Hlatky / Native Instruments
Tobias Baumbach / Native Instruments
Mickael Le Goff / Native Instruments

LEGO experimentation from the same team, at Stockholm's MIDI Hack Day last month.

LEGO experimentation from the same team, at Stockholm’s MIDI Hack Day last month.

Very cool.

  • DOG

    I’m very much looking forward to the “More on that soon” part of this post. I think a lot of people forget that interfaces like this (ie colored/shaped objects interpreted via camera) aren’t exactly new (Reactable being the oldest I can remember for music that got a lot of publicity – almost a decade ago! plus a few others from the MIT Media Lab), so they fall to the wayside as spectacle and the potential of the back end and supporting software is forgotten. Of course interfaces like this are really cool, but I think hacking a sequencer with custom scripts to fit specialized needs is possibly cooler.

    Similar attitude towards Ableton – max4live added a great level of customization depth to Ableton that more software developers should embrace.

  • stumm

    Wait, there’s Lua scripting on Maschine? My interest just peaked. I havent been able to shake my desire for a customizable Lua scripted grid sequencer since 2009 –