Awesome Stuff: Make More Music

from the different-ways-to-play dept

It’s music-making time again! This week, we’ve got another set of crowdfunded devices that unlock new and unexpected ways to play with sound and create new tunes.


The Dualo is all about making it easy to create music, but that hasn’t stopped it from being an interesting device by several professional standards. Its core functions are the two banks of buttons that are set up to group harmonious notes nearby (so pressing any local set of buttons is likely to produce a pleasing combination) and which can be switched between 52 different synthesized instruments, and a 7-track on-the-fly looper that lets you layer these sounds on top of each other as you play. What’s notable and rare among these kinds of instruments is that the Dualo is a self-contained, standalone device — it doesn’t require an associated app or a computer, though it can also double as a MIDI input device in larger digital music workflows.


AirJamz is really more of a toy than anything else, but it sure does look like a fun toy. It’s a wrist-mounted motion sensor that interfaces wirelessly with a mobile app to produce sound from that age-old pastime of playing air guitar. Your miming strums are converted into actual guitar sounds, though it’s a little unclear just how much control over those sounds the system really provides. Nevertheless, it looks like fun — and, again, is MIDI compatible, opening up all sorts of possibilities. With the ability to run four sensor units in tandem, AirJamz might find the most adoption as a party game.

XTH Sense

The XTH Sense is the most ambitious and different of this week’s projects: a bio-sensor based music creation device. Like the AirJamz, it straps to your wrist and detects movement — but it doesn’t stop there. The unit includes a bioacoustic microphone that listens for pulse, blood flow and muscle movement, and a thermometer to track body temperature, and performs some algorithmic wizardry to combine all these variables into a shifting signal that controls other devices. Music creation is one of its flagship applications, but not the only one: it also has potential as a virtual reality device, a gaming controller and more, not to mention it could be used simply as a bio-sensor for those who want to access that data. Like our other devices this week, the XTH Sense has full MIDI compatibility, and even comes with pre-made plugins for a bunch of popular music production software packages — plus, it’s compatible with the Arduino IDE, and comes with a flexible API for building custom apps.

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