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Notice: The Sound Revolver (Augmented Music Maker) now has its own project page which you can find here!

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I have mentioned before that I am really interested in musical interfaces. I have also been working with openCV a lot lately and (naturally) I wanted to merge the two concepts together. A while ago, I came across the reactable, a really neat synthesizer that makes use of blocks you place on a special table top to create sounds. I really loved that idea of augmentation and I wanted to make something similar. I haven’t come up with a name for this project yet so I’ll use AMM (Augmented Music Maker) as a placeholder name for now.
Edit: Thanks to a wonderful class of grade 3/4 students, the official name for AMM is now “The Sound Revolver.”




The Sound Revolver, on the outside, doesn’t look like much. It’s just a table top with a camera underneath it. By placing differently coloured “nodes” on the surface, the software recognizes the differently coloured nodes and creates links. Once the links are in place, tones are played with the pitch dependent on where a blue node is located on the table. The node concept is based on a really neat app called Nodebeat. I liked the idea so much that I wanted to incorporate it here.

Tabletop Overview

Tabletop Overview



Blue Node

Blue Node



Software Node Representation

Software Node Representation



The Sound Revolvers’s software is made with openFrameworks and uses the openCV add-on for colour detection. I bought some fake tea candles and replaced the LEDs with red and blue ones to create the nodes. To diffuse the light, I used polymorph which was really fun to play with.

So what’s left to do? I need to make the surface into a proper table with much better reinforcement. I also plan to remake the nodes so that they look much nicer. Software-wise, there is some tweaking that needs to be done to get rid of the glitches that occur from time to time. Some more tweaking to the colour detection code needs to be done to further solidify it. I also plan on displaying the augmented bit on a much larger screen rather than a small laptop one.

I’ll be creating a project page for this once it is completely finished. The page will go into further details about the build and source code will be shared.