Have you ever wanted to look over the shoulder of someone who's spent multiple years programming and refining a custom application with Max/MSP/Jitter? Well you are in luck as artist Robert Edgar kindly agreed a let me record a behind-the-scenes walk through of his "Simultaneous Opposites Engine" app when I was visiting Sunnyvale last April.
He describes the app as "a performance/navigation system for real-time traversal of existing video files, sorting through the audio and video a single frame at a time, in an arrhythmic spiraling motion". While this is not a commercial application, watching the interview will not only give you insights into Robert's innovative work, but will also give you a sense as to why people choose to program their own apps and how they use technologies like Cycling 74's to solve problems and express their art.
After the interview video I've embedded a few example videos to show some of Robert's recent work. I've included a link to his Vimeo channel at the bottom of the post which you should definitely checkout as it's the home of over 60 videos created by Robert over the last few years allowing you to see the progression of the technology and the art. I recommend you view all videos full screen and HD.
I recently conducted a phone interview with Percussa founder and AudioCube inventor Bert Schiettecatte. I think music artists, visual artists, sound designers, those interested in tangible interfaces for installations, and music technology fans will all enjoy this interview – even if you are not in the market for a tangible interface. Below is a brief context-setting introduction. If you want to jump straight to the interview click here.
Introduction If you’ve been following Modulate This you know I’ve been using AudioCubes, a tangible interface made by Percussa. As I started using the cubes, I began contacting Percussa with questions. Percussa is a small company in Belgium and Bert Schiettecatte the founder and inventor of AudioCubes himself is happy to talk with customers directly which I found quite refreshing.
I have to say that prior to my experience with AudioCubes, I didn’t know much about tangible interfaces and the more I talked with Bert, the more I began to understand how big of an innovation Percussa AudioCubes actually are.
Most tangible interfaces are comprised of an infrastructure of components that include tables with special surfaces, cameras, projectors, software, and computers. In most cases they are very, very expensive, not very portable, and require a lot of calibration if they are moved. In other words, tangible interfaces are out of reach for most artists.
Bert formed Percussa with the radical goal of producing an affordable portable self-contained tangible interface that you could throw in a backpack and that eliminated the infrastructure. The result is the AudioCube. Each cube is a wireless, battery powered, autonomous computer that can be used as a performance interface to music software.
Below is a recent phone interview I conducted with Bert. In this interview Bert discusses his time at the CCRMA lab at Stanford and the founding of Percussa. He also offers an introduction to tangible interfaces; and a detailed run-down on Percussa AudioCubes, their function, their electronics and how they compare with other tangible interfaces. He goes on to discuss some of the FREE apps that Percussa provides AudioCube users. Note – I originally planned on a 5-10 minute interview but after editing I ended up at around 24 minutes. Bert had a lot of interesting things to say, so I decided to offer all 24 minutes.
0:19 – Stanford and Laser Harps 1:21 – Founding Percussa 2:13 – What are Tangible Interfaces? 3:23 – AudoCubes Explained 5:35 – On Overview of the LED System 6:37 – Overview of the FREE apps That Work with AudioCubes 11:48 – Where Do People Go to Get the Apps? 12:26 – OS Platforms, drivers and AudioCube fabrication 13:43 – How do AudioCubes compare to other tangible interfaces 17:16 – What are typical uses of AudioCubes and who is using them? 18:11 – Art installations 19:50 – Packaging, where to buy and shipping 21:28 – Where to go to learn more 23:03 – Thanks Bert
Want to know what one of the leading iPhone developers has on his mind?
I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Ge Wang, CTO and Co-founder of Smule.com. Smule are the makers of extremely popular and innovative iPhone applications such as Sonic Lighter and Ocarina. Dr. Wang is also an assistant professor at Stanford University, at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Princeton University and a BS in Computer Science from Duke University. Ge is the creator and chief architect of the ChucK audio programming language, and the founding director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk).
I asked a wide variety of questions in this interview – so – whether you are a musician, a developer, an iPhone user, or an entrepreneur, I hope you find this interview interesting and enlightening.
I’ve provided this audio interview in YouTube (for computer or iPhone users), and in MP3 formats*.
Part 1 – Dr. Wang discusses the iPhone as an application
platform, how constraint leads to innovation, and his vision for using
technology to bring people together. Watch on YouTube or Download MP3.
Part 2 – Dr. Wang discusses how people are using Ocarina and how Ocarina has brought music to the disabled. He also discusses the future of the Ocarina and Smule, and what it’s like to be “Smulian”. Watch on YouTube or Download MP3.
—- Production Notes — Audio was taken from a phone conversation between myself and Dr. Wang. I originally intended to publish as transcribed text but felt of the tone of conversation would be lost so I instead published an audio version. I decided to present both sides of our conversation at phone quality to preserve the feel of the conversation. Note that for a short time in the beginning of Part 1, Dr. Wang was on a mobile phone with some signal drop out and the quality improves as the conversation continues. In addition to MP3 format, I’ve provided a YouTube format so you can easily listen to this from an iPhone or web browser.