Tag Archives: MIDI controller

T8 is the world’s first wearable instrument that records, performs and remixes music


Designed for musicians, DJs and live performers, Remidi’s wearable MIDI controller that turns your hand into a whole new type of instrument.


Tapping your fingers to the rhythm of your favorite songs on a desk, table or even your steering wheel can help pass time while at work, in class or stuck in traffic. But how much cooler would it be if you could turn your hand into an actual, fully-functional musical instrument? That was the idea behind Austin-based startup Remidi’s latest wearable device, T8.

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T8 is a MIDI controller that allows you to command a wide range of digital music with your hands. The system consists of two parts: a sensor-laden glove and an embedded wristband that wirelessly sync to a laptop or mobile device running music creation software.

The bracelet includes a pair of select buttons (to hit play/pause, choose between modes, etc.) and a knob on top for scrolling through note or chord sets, samples and parameters. Housed inside the band is an accelerometer for detecting mid-air gestural controls and expressive pitch bends, as well as an ATmega32U4 and Bluetooth 4.0 module for communication with any laptop, PC, smartphone or tablet. There’s also an RGB LED and a 110mAh battery, which boasts a life of around five to 10 hours and can be recharged via microUSB in about a half an hour.

“The controller also has the ability to sense the physical movements of your wrist and arms. Rotate your wrist to distort your audible output using any effect, or move it up and down to cause a reverberation,” Remidi writes. “The circular dial, located on the top of the T8’s controller, allows you to program another complete set of notes, so with a twist of the dial, you can instantly flip to an entirely new note-set.”

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The wristband magnetically links to a snug-fitting Spandex glove, which is home to eight pressure sensitive trigger zones — one in each of the fingers, another in the thumb and the rest in the palm area. These ‘skeleton’ sensors are made of human-friendly PET and TPU, along with proprietary smart textile components. According to its creators, “no other ‘musical glove’ can come close to the T8’s electronic sensitivity and physical durability.”

Users can configure each sensor to trigger samples, notes or presets when the sensor hits any surface, which enables you to control up to 16 different sounds with one hand. For instance, you can sound a kick drum with your thumb or use you palm to bring in a hi-hat and snare. Additionally, the pressure sensitivity of the sensors can be defined by the user and the T8 knows exactly when — and at what pressure — you’re pushing the palm of your hand against a surface as well as how soft or hard you’re putting two or more sensors together.

To get started, simply out your T8, sync it to your mobile device and begin jamming right there on the spot. Based on percussion algorithms, the T8 can sense when any one of the eight sensors makes contact with a desk, wall, subway seat, car window, yourself or another human, and triggers the corresponding, programmed sound to play. In fact, did you know it only takes one hand to record the instrumentals for 2Pac’s California Love?

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Meanwhile, an accompanying app lets users customize functionality and configure the system; however, Remidi’s controller even integrates with third party music software and digital audio workstations, like Ableton Live, Animoog, GarageBand or any other program that supports MIDI.

Does this sound (no pun intended) like the MIDI controller for you? Then head over to T8’s Kickstarter campaign, where the Remidi crew is currently seeking $50,000. Delivery is slated for September 2016. Speaking of wearable instruments, you can get a little Fancy with DrumPants, too!

Building a 16-button MIDI controller with Arduino

Whether you’re interested in music, video or just flat out fun, this easy-to-build full USB MIDI controller is the open-source tool of your dreams. The minds over at Adafruit conceived this 16-button device based upon their Trellis button platform and an Atmel-based Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32u4).

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The Mini OONTZ is a 16-button version of the much larger original OONTZ design. The miniscule controller features LED backlit buttons, a slick 3D-printed case, and even the ability to be connected to an iOS device for mobile play. If you’re looking for a place to start, Adafruit has a guide to building your own MIDI controller using an Arduino. The full tutorial, which can be found over on Adafruit, list of each the materials you will need in order to build your own Mini OONTZ MIDI controller:

As Adafruit notes, the potentiometer knobs can either be 3D-printed or purchased online.

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With the ability to work with any MIDI software and hardware, the full-USB Mini OONTZ truly has unlimited potential because of its inherent hackability. Through the Arduino Leonardo, the device can be wired to power MIDI notes, LEDs and the potentiometers can control even aspects such as modulation. The group designed this kit for ease-of-use and ultimate flexibility, and it is hard to argue against those claims when looking at this highly accessible platform.

If you’re looking to build your own OONTZ or simply want to learn more about the DIY musical gizmo, feel free to browse the original post over at Adafruit.

A closer look at a light-sensitive MIDI controller

Ah, the 90’s. Along with many others, I remember it fondly as the golden age of personal computing. I mean, who can forget the days of AdLib/Sound Blaster cards, Doom, BBS door games like Solar Realms Elite and MIDI files?

The truth is, each of the above-mentioned subjects probably deserves its very own nostalgic blog post, but today we’re going to focus on MIDI.

For the uninitiated, MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, a technical standard or protocol that allows a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers and other related devices to connect and communicate with one another.

Although MIDI technology has been around since the 80’s in one form or another, it achieved widespread mainstream popularity in the 90’s alongside the rise of the PC. While MIDI may be somewhat old school for some, many hobbyists and modders proudly continue its legacy.

Case in point? A light-sensitive, Arduino-powered MIDI controller which popped up on YouTube just a few days ago, courtesy of Jacob Clarke.

“I’ve finally started messing around with Arduino properly. Found an old light sensor in my electronics stuff and decided to try my hand at rewiring a MIDI to USB cable I had lying around,” wrote Clarke.

“A few hours later I had a light sensitive MIDI controller working! This can be powered completely independent to a computer if need be (and into any synth). For the sake of making it ‘nice sounding’ I added a bit of code to round the notes into a pentatonic scale.”

Clarke says he has bigger plans in mind and will likely disassemble his creation, but it does serve as a good starting point and certainly makes for a fun video! If you are interested in trying this yourself,  the Arduino sketch has been posted to PasteBin and is  available here.