Constellation is a 3D music sequencer project i have been involved with for several years on and off in the Unity game engine. It is a unique music application/experience based upon the idea of being able to rotate a musical idea along a 3D while viewing it on 2D screen. The name of the app is based on the phenomenon that any given arrangement of stars in a constellation is not actually equidistant from the viewer. Instead stars are at different levels of distance from the viewer. Thus rotation of the constellation from a center point would result in vastly different patterns than what was originally perceived.
Probably one of my most ambitious projects, this tangible interface was the first step in trying to create a portable prepared piano of sorts. It utilized a custom interface featuring piezoresistive fabric ribbons on a conductive copper base, using objects that had Reactivision fiducial symbols that would be recognized by Reactivision via an overhead webcam and turned into data that would control instrument switching in MaxMSP using a fluidsynth object playing samples of prepared piano. Sensor data for the ribbons (onset and resistance value) were sent to Max via a SlipOSC code installed on a Teensy microcontroller. Additionally extra controls over the sound were possible by adding a Korg Nanokontrol. The included clip is a demo video, briefly explaining the setup. A short performance clip is available here:
Many thanks to Adrian Freed of CNMAT for invaluable assistance with materials and use of the Teensy!
This is the second stage of my obsession with a portable piano of sorts. After abandoning the fabric controllers which were not stable, I opted instead for real strings. Several designs were considered and discarded when I discovered the Harpejji, a variation of an earlier custom instrument called the Starr Board. This is a tapping instrument where both hands face the same direction rather than a Chapman Stick where the hands face in opposite directions. As a Harpejji was out of my price range, I enlisted the help of a tapping instrument maker (Kevin Siebold of Krappy Guitars) to make the body, bridge and strings to my specs, and a young engineer to design the active pickup system ( a dual octal buffer, for 16 strings). I then found a set of piezo saddles which i adapted and wired up to the buffer circuit boards, and the Hypertap was born.
Future versions of this will exploit the individual string output available to do A/D conversion (onset,pitch detection) to potentially controll other kinds of processing.