DIY Passive Multitouch Input Device Recreates the 80s for About $50 [DIY]

via Gizmodo by Jack Loftus on 12/28/08

This passive multitouch controller designed and built by Randy Jones requires no electric circuits to operate. All it needs it a little 80s synth and the party starts itself.

Cool trivia: Jones created the input device for his thesis at the University of Victoria:

Physical modeling synthesis has proven to be a successful method of synthesizing realistic sounds, but providing expressive controls for performance remains a major challenge. This thesis presents a new approach to playing physical models, based on multidimensional signals. Its focus is on the long-term research question, “How can we make a computer-mediated instrument with control intimacy equal to the most expressive acoustic instruments?” In the material world, the control and sounding properties of an instrument or other object are intimately linked by the object’s construction. Multidimensional signals, used as connections between a gestural controller and a physical model, can in principle provide the same intimacy. This work presents a new, low-cost sensor design capable of generating a 2D force signal, a new implementation of the 2D digital waveguide mesh, and two experimental computer music instruments that combine these components using different metaphors. The new instruments are evaluated in terms of intimacy, playability and plausibility. Multidimensional connections between sensors and a physical model are found to facilitate a high degree of control intimacy, and to reproduce as emergent behavior some important phenomena associated with acoustic instruments.

In addition to the video above, Jones has supplied WAV files of each of the techniques he plays in the demo. Check out his thesis and the video for more, including his very happy hands. [Thesis via MAKE]

by Ben Pike