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I wonder if we'll ever get one of those in the Exploratorium, here in San Francisco. I could spend a few days playing with that -- but, I can only imagine how long you'd have to wait in line.
The only problem with those places is that, as an adult, I'm expected to let the kids have a go :( You'd need to wait a long time in line if you were behind me...
Hmm... most of the software they use, at least for the object tracking is all open source available here. All it needs is a camera and a projector... Doesn't sound that hard to build :D

We've got a vision lab full of cameras, lenses, lighting, etc - I'm sure you could put something together...

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It's an interesting toy, but what about it can't be done on a normal computer screen? Also, seems to me that traditional things such as pianos or saxophones have pretty tangible UIs and are more practical than this -- such as in allowing rapid dexterity to have a role. The widgets are too specific to be really useful for anything else than effects generation and automatic music... in short, this musician was bored by the demo.

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It's an interesting toy, but what about it can't be done on a normal computer screen? Also, seems to me that traditional things such as pianos or saxophones have pretty tangible UIs and are more practical than this -- such as in allowing rapid dexterity to have a role. The widgets are too specific to be really useful for anything else than effects generation and automatic music... in short, this musician was bored by the demo.

I agree... as a musician myself too, I had to put that side of me away while watching. It really doesn't do much musically. But, the pretty lights and colors made the engineer side of me want to build one! :)

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I agree... as a musician myself too, I had to put that side of me away while watching.

Are you guys kidding? This musician was as impressed by this as he was when he first saw a synth (no, not the keyboard-based type) and that grew into something revolutionary. Just because it doesn't have the same interface as instruments you're used to playing, that doesn't make it any less practical. That's like someone who has only been exposed to DOS putting crap on a UI-based OS simply becasue it's different.

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Are you guys kidding? This musician was as impressed by this as he was when he first saw a synth (no, not the keyboard-based type) and that grew into something revolutionary. Just because it doesn't have the same interface as instruments you're used to playing, that doesn't make it any less practical. That's like someone who has only been exposed to DOS putting crap on a UI-based OS simply becasue it's different.

Really, I wasn't kidding. It might be a cool toy to build sounds, but to call it an "instrument" is farcical. What enabled synths to become useful was to plug them back in to the standard input devices!! I'm not saying that new musical instrument designs can't be achieved, but it's all about producing a good input device, not about getting any other feedback than sonic back to the performer.

Incidentally, the most impressive "new" music-producing device I've seen recently was a re-wired Kinesis contour keyboard where keys mapped to intervals from the current tone, in a mirrored geometry. It has a silly name, the Samchillian Tip Tip Tip Cheeepeee, but don't let that deter you! See http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4889538176718826165. That enables the musician to punch in "keyboard" licks that sound like horn licks, and it's abstracted from the nitty-gritty, but not too much. For a track featuring that input device, hear http://www.samchillian.com/mp3/nytimessurp.mp3 (near the beginning.) BTW it was the highlight of my night when I saw Masque live, despite the fact that the band involves Vernon Reid, one of the top guitarists alive.

IMO, the Samchillian is a truly new input device, *and it's designed for performance*. The reactable, on the other hand, seems a bit more like a toy offering a slightly new approach to producing automatic music... it's not on the same level as an instrument.

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The reactable, on the other hand... [is] not on the same level as an instrument.

We must agree to disagree. Personally, I don't limit my musical experience to sounds made only by traditional "instruments" - I hear music everywhere.

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We must agree to disagree. Personally, I don't limit my musical experience to sounds made only by traditional "instruments" - I hear music everywhere.

I don't either -- thanks for the putdown. I do, however, value a performance higher than the idea of a performance.

Between non-traditional performances, that of a great turntablist is much superior to an automatic-music performance-art installation because the human/natural input is more present. Similarly, being in a forest full of nature sounds is better than hearing a recording of those nature sounds. In music, performance rules.

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I don't either -- thanks for the putdown... In music, performance rules.

I wasn't trying to put you down - I apologise if you took it that way. That said, I don't agree that performance necessarily rules - whilst that is usually true, I look at it from the angle that the listener's experience rules. As an aside, I also don't think the difference between live performance and recording has much to do with the original arguement either.

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