Saturday, 21 February 2009


The Reactable is a collaborative electronic music instrument using a tabletop tangible multi-touch interface. Several performers can share control over the instrument simultaneously by moving and rotating colorful sound blocks around on a translucent, luminous round table surface. These sound blocks represent the components of a classic modular synthesizer: by moving and relating them you can adjust frequencies of sound waves, frequency, volume, and tempo. A camera situated beneath the table continually analyzes the surface activity, tracking the player's fingertips and the positions of the blocks that are distributed on its surface. Users can create complex and dynamic sonic topolgies with the Reactable's generators, filters and modulators in a graspable flow-controlled programming language. The Reactable is, according to its makers (however cryptic-looking with its Turtan symbols and wierd colors) meant to be an intuitive instrument, with zero-instructions, zero-manual, learnable and suitable for all.

The instrument was developed by a team of four digital inventors working at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcleona, Spain. Sergi Jorda, Martin Kaltenbrunner, Gunter Geiger and Marcos Alonso's main activities concentrate on the design of new musical interfaces using tangible music instruments and music applications for mobile devices.

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