Bela by Andrew McPherson

Andrew McPherson has developed the Bela environment and cape for the Beaglebone Black. This allows coders to create very responsive musical instruments with extremely low latency in a package the size of a pack of cards, which is capable of running off batteries.

Drake Music is working with Chris Heinrichs and Andrew from the Bela team to explore this technology as a platform for accessible musical instrument design.

Chris attended our Southbank hackathon where he demonstrated its design potential.

Chris Heinrichs is working at the cutting edge of digital music platform design. While many technologists use the Raspberry Pi to power their ideas, Chris has been using the similar BeagleBone.

Sitting over the top of this is an 8-input 8-output audio ‘cape’ that puts ultra-fast, professional-grade signal processing within reach of the bedroom music maker and hacker.

Bela using Beaglebone

Chris is part of a team who are developing accessible ways for those with no programming expertise to be able to design sounds and effects, and then install them onto the processing board.

The cat miaow synth ‘hack’ he developed is an example of the extraordinary possibilities that this system offers for people to run with an idea and get it tested and built in without any need for expensive or time-consuming prototyping.

Take, for example, the ‘disco gun’ he threw together with friends for a recent party: a hand-held controller that linked to lighting and sound effects, giving dancers a new way to truly own the floor.

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