MIDI Out of Hand
A way more expressive MIDI controller
|Research, interaction design, fabrication, programming, sound design
|Solo (special thanks to Riley Huston for the 3D printing help)
|physical interfaces, novel interactions, prototyping techniques
MIDI Out of Hand is a MIDI controller that reads big, expressive movements by the player or players. To activate a note, a player presses a footswitch. The sound can be modified by pulling either of the retractable cords from the upper part of the instrument: by default, the left cord controls the filter cutoff, and the right cord controls the pitch shift, but they can be mapped to any parameter in a DAW.
MIDI Out of Hand attempts to expand the kinetic vocabulary of electronic instruments. This pursuit opened the final instrument to be played in novel ways, like by multiple people at a time.
This project also prompted a process for instrument prototyping. In a workshop shown in the following video, participants pretended to “play” nearby large objects—like a recycling bin, a paper cutter, and a ladder—as though they were instruments. We used a keyboard to produce sounds that roughly mirror the movements they were making, and determined what movement-sound combinations were most interesting and realistic.
At the 2023 Seattle Design Festival
I showed MIDI Out of Hand at the 2023 Seattle Design Festival, where amid other bustling installations strangers experimented with the controller for a few hours.
Visitors of all ages got to see, feel, hear, and ask about the power of prototyping with Arduino and MIDI data.