Dualing Reviews of Lemur Multi-Touch Control Surface

The Lemur multi-touch touchscreen controller is the rare kind of product that breaks entirely from convention, raising fundamental questions about how we make music. It’s comforting in a way, then, to see disagreement about just how well the finished product works. After over a year of buzz, detailed in-practice reviews of the Lemur are emerging, including my review for Keyboard Magazine, and Jonathan Segel’s review for Electronic Musician. The two reviews reach somewhat different conclusions. Neither review gives an unqualified endorsement, but both see promise in the device — just different promise. And I have to ask a question: are …

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Potential Musical Uses for Origami / UMPC

I’m still partial to saving up cash for a full-featured, full-sized tablet, but in case you haven’t been watching discussion on my last story on the new Ultra-Mobile PC platform, there are some interesting musical uses for a portable tablet: Portable notation: This one’s the biggie. The UMPC is more than capable of running notation software, and with

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Mobile Music Computers: Tablets Good, Origami Bad

Did you opt for a laptop over a tablet when you bought your latest mobile PC? You can’t really be blamed. Tablets tend to offer less performance for the money, and hit the middle or worse overall on key audio benchmarks like processor speed, hard disk, and I/O. But you’ve also missed out: unlike a laptop, a tablet can fit comfortably on a music stand. It’s easier to tote from one part of your studio to another. It’s the perfect way of entering music notation or tweaking soft synths, with instant access to the interface. So, great news: Microsoft, Intel, …

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Windows Day: Microsoft Working on Touch Interfaces, Too — For Vista

Imagine touching a screen to directly control Live, Reason, Reaktor, and Max/MSP while you’re playing, with a full view of the interface. That’s been possible with tablet PCs for some time, but not with a touch-centric interface. While the Mac faithful have been drooling over a vague Apple patent for touchscreen interfaces, no one seems to have noticed that Microsoft is planning to build this interface into Windows Vista. Microsoft’s Jim Allchin, head Vista honcho, told Paul Thurrott: “We’re now supporting touch control in addition to electro-magnetic,” he told me. “We’ve done a lot of innovations here. As you know, …

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Multi-Touch Touchscreens for Music: More Reflections

Reflections, indeed, since last week we saw a music/multimedia interface based on a camera tracking system called Frustrated Total Internal Reflection. (Sounds like an apt description of some of our undergraduate college years?) Futuristic musical interfaces could take a radically different direction from what we’ve seen so far, and that distant future may be close — really. But let’s clear some things up:

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Multitouch Interfaces of the Future: More Expressive, More Flexible

There was a time when skeptics thought mice would never catch on. “People will never give up their QWERTY keyboards,” they said. They were half right: now we take both for granted. Now, more experiments in multi-touch interfaces are appearing by the day. Aside from mysterious Apple patents, we have, via We Make Money Not Art, new research in multi-touch interactions from a team led by Jefferson Han. (Demos pictured.) This isn’t just any touchscreen: not only does it recognize multiple fingers as inputs, but it projects whatever imagery you want in response, enabling new, fluid interfaces, and even responds …

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Apple’s Touchscreen Patent: Actual Patent Reveals Gestures, Not Hardware

With the Web abuzz about Apple’s latest patent, filing, it’s worth reading the actual patent, 0060026536. Like all patent filings, this research may never translate to a shipping product. But it does make for good reading, and it clears up some issues — the most important one being this is about gestures, not specific hardware. Oh, and yes, Apple is working on a touchscreen music mixer:

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Futuristic Lemur Multitouch Control Surface Updated

The Lemur multitouch control surface is as much about software as it is about hardware, and the folks at JazzMutant and Cycling ’74 have been hard at work updating that software and making it work effectively with more applications. Think better MIDI support, Ableton Live control, and new tutorials on exploring sound and sequencing. Thanks to updates to the JazzMutant site and a 1.2 firmware update for the hardware, the Lemur now boasts: MIDI compatibility: It’s now easier to scale and generate MIDI data from the more complex OpenSoundControl data piped out of the Lemur. New object physics: The Lemur’s …

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DIY Multi-Touch Interfaces and Other Futuristic Tricks

Via Pixelsumo comes a fantastic lineup of links to futuristic interfaces for music, etc. If you were impressed by Cycling 74’s new Lemur touchscreen, with the power to let you touch multiple points on a pad simultaneously for controlling music/sound/etc., Jeff Han has built his own. His Frustrated Total Internal Reflection project may sound like some sort of existential experience, but it’s really an optical system for tracking multiple finger touches on a screen. You need a back projector, so it’s not as portable or compact as the Lemur, but watch the video: extremely low latency, extremely high sensitivity. Jeff …

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Sonic Wire Sculptor Web App + Tools That Built It

Interactive music man Amit Pitaru is the creator of the Web sound toy Sonic Wire Sculptor: Try Sonic Wire Sculptor on your Mac/PC browser Thanks to Tim, who notes: “I saw it and got to play with it at the ICC gallery in Tokyo last year and on a video projector and touchscreen; it was great fun! The web version is pretty cool, too.” Sculpting sound in your browser with virtual 3D shapes, complete with optional tablet input? Very cool. But even cooler is the tools behind the magic (mostly developed by Pitaru himself), which also drive a lot of …

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