DM Lab: September 2015

It was an honour to be asked to buy the biscuits this week (hobnobs and bourbons) for our monthly DMlab hackmeet.

Taking place once a month at our offices in Shoreditch it’s a chance for anyone with an interest in developing accessible music technology to meet and share projects, ideas and questions.

This month we had Fiore Martin from Queen Mary University and Caro Churchill from Drake Music North West in attendance for the first time.

Kellycaster developments and BeagleRT

Gawain Hewitt demonstrating the Kellycaster in the foreground with Charles Matthews on laptop in the backgroundDiscussions began with developments on the Kellycaster, a DMlab developed hacked-hybrid-digital-guitar. Mainly on the possibilities the BeagleRT could provide to the project.

BeagleRT runs in hard real time, meaning that the audio runs at higher priority than the Linux kernel itself. The result? System activity on the board will not cause audio glitches. In addition latencies as low as 90 microseconds from input to output are possible.

Charles Matthews @matthewscharles coded the Kellycaster software on Max. Talk focussed around porting to Pure Data to allow it to run on the BeagleRT Linux variant at utlra low latencies.

The BeagleRT is the basis for D-Box hack-able musical instrument. More info on BeagleRT and D-Box here. More about the Kellycaster on Huffington Post

Fiore Martin and Access PD

Fiore Martin came along to talk about his project Access PD, a hack of the CCmI diagram editor to allow visual impaired users to build a patch.

Fiore explained that visual languages such as Max/Msp and Pure Data (PD) are well established in the community of sound designers, interactive artists, creative coders etc. However they are exclusively based on visual diagrams – small shapes representing unit generators, messages and numbers and connection lines describing the signal flow through the objects. They are therefore inherently inaccessible to visually impaired users. Read more here.

He also showed us some very interesting footage of the Collidoscope project, the “musical microscope that allows you to zoom into sounds and explore their beautiful peculiarities”.

Caro Churchill and DMlab North

It was lovely to meet Caro and welcome her to the London DMlab group. Caro is to head up the expansion of Drake Music’s Research & Development programme to the North of the UK this October, bringing together technologists, musicians, coders and hackers to work on creating cutting edge accessible instruments.

To find out more you can read Caro’s blog post on the subject or the DM news article.

dArch Resonator

Also unveiled this month was my very own iPad hack dubbed the “dArch Resonator”. It’s a very cheap and dirty way to bring some haptic feedback to the party using an iPad, a lever-arch file, a small powered speaker and the obligatory gaffer tape. Watch this space for a DIY tutorial coming soon.


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