Roger Linn Design LinnStrument

Roger Linn has posted his research project LinnStrument, a new musical instrument prototype.

If you’ve read my (Roger’s) New Musical Instruments page, you know that I’m interested in the idea of new musical instruments that overcome the limitations of traditional mechanical instruments. My particular interest is in a new instrument that while capable of entirely new sounds and playing techniques, is also able to reproduce the sounds, virtuosic performance capabilities and subtleties that we’ve come to know and love from traditional musical instruments, but without all their problems and limitations.

I’ve come up with a prototype of an instrument design that I like. Here’s a brief video of what I’ve got so far:

The low cost multi-touch, pressure-sensitive, high-resolution input surface used in this prototype comes from TouchCo, which was bought by Amazon in January 2010 in order to add touchscreen technology to Kindle.

Roger writes:

Alas, until someone else comes up with a similar touch technology or Amazon decides to make the TouchCo technology available, development of our product will be limited to refining our Max/MSP patch. One promising new technology we’ve evaluated is a touchscreen from Stantum (same company as JazzMutant, makers of the Lemur) that senses surface area of your fingers, which is not a bad alternative to sensing pressure because your finger surface area increases as you increase pressure. However, I found that their current resolution wasn’t high enough for what I’m trying to do, plus true pressure sensing is better for musical control.

More information: LinnStrument

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