This wireless musical instrument is an exciting and simple way to explore and play sounds through motion.
If you like strumming your air guitar or beating your imaginary drum set, then TZM Creative Lab has got something for you! And that something is their wireless, battery-powered instrument, Motus. While holding Motus in hand, the device enables users to literally play music by moving — no keys, buttons or knobs. You can perform the note, and at the same time, change its timbre with varying gestures.
“[Motus is] like a drum, like a violin, like a shaker, like an old piano, like a guitar, like a harp, like a choir, like a French horn, like a light saber, like a baby crying, like all the world’s birds, like love, like a trumpet, like 80’s synthesizers from David Hasselhoff’s songs. And many more,” its creators explain.
Motus utilizes many of the same sensors that are found in today’s smartphones to gather data around movement, orientation, velocity and displacement, among several other things. This collected information is then used to dynamically trigger effects, prerecorded samples or real-time generated sounds. Think of it like a touchpad MIDI controller but in a three-dimensional space, where the room around you becomes a touchless surface and a blank canvas for you to explore.
The system itself is comprised of two parts: one of three different pieces of hardware and tune-making proprietary software. Connect your unit to the accompanying app on your PC or smartphone, and get ready enjoy your the music you devise through headphones or a speaker system.
The first of the hardware options is the Motus Classic package, which is meant for use right out of the box and connects with mobile gadgetry over Bluetooth Low Energy. Inside a plastic shell, this particular model employs an accelerometer and gyroscope and a LiPo battery that provides up to 48 hours of continuous play.
Next is the Motus Pro, a module that can augment an existing instrument, convert dance moves to music or simply experiment with sounds. It packs four sensors — an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a magnetometer and an altimeter — and a LiPo battery enclosed in a reinforced plastic housing. On top of that, it comes with an external 2.4GHz Bridg receiver with a low latency range of up to 100 feet. You can also connect up to 12 Motus devices simultaneously.
The last member of the Motus trio is the Hacker edition, which is a barebones kit for Makers. This model includes the same hardware as the Classic version, but doesn’t come with a case allowing users to create their own personalized or experimental designs. By adding more sensors or tapping into the Arduino community, the possibilities are truly endless!
“The Hacker package is equipped with a PCB and all components (accelerometer, gyroscope, RC module, resistors, capacitors, push button) together with pre-flashed microcontroller – programmer is not necessary unless you want to tweak the code. We will provide instructions how to assemble everything. Auxiliary connectors on the PCB includes two digital, two analog (10-bit) inputs and four digital outputs,” TZM shares.
The software, though, is where all the magic happens. As the brains of the operation, the program hosts all of the digital instruments and mapping tools. Motus is compatible with MIDI, OSC and ReWire technologies, and can be used with Ableton Live.
What’s more, Motus boasts eight various instruments, including a virtual orchestra, an invisible violin, a shaker, an old-school synth and even a Jedi sound saber, to name just a few. However, TZM hopes to launch an app store (called Coolgarden) where users will be able to download additional instruments, effects, audio, visual generators and games.
Intrigued? Check out Motus’ crowdfunding page here.