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Engineering Projects: MIDIbrick MIDI Controllers

Microtouch UnMouse-based 2D MIDI controller

I have created an amazingly responsive 2D MIDI controller using a MIDIbrick and a Microtouch UnMouse, a product marketed about 8 or 9 years ago by a company that now produces touch screens for computer monitors. This is similar to the controller on the Korg Kaoss Pad, but I think I have much more potential resolution to work with. The UnMouse is a 1024x1024 pad which reports absolute position to whatever it is connected to. After reverse engineering the UnMouse protocol and writing some firmware drivers for the MIDIbrick, I was up and running and making weird noises. It's a LOT of fun to play with, especially when mapping effects parameters like filter center frequency on one axis and filter bandwidth on the other, or reverb decay on one axis and dry/wet mix on the other.

The MIDIbrick tracks the finger/stylus position and sends out MIDI controller messages. This operation occurs at the maximum speed of the UnMouse (many samples/second), so the controller operation is silky smooth when you glide your finger across the glass. However, one neat thing about the UnMouse is that you can tap your finger at various points on the glass and it will report back the absolute position where you tapped -- this means you can make wild controller moves that would be impossible with knobs, and it also lets you 'play' whatever is receiving the controller messages if you get good at positioning your fingers on the glass.

MIDI LFO controller

I'm designing very powerful MIDI LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) firmware for the MIDIbrick. The hazy details are that it will provide MIDI synced, variable waveform LFOs with adjustable parameters such as: frequency, phase, offset, max/min, linear interpolation, etc. More details as this project progresses.

Integration of DACS

I'm working on integrating some of the elements from my ongoing DACS (Distributed Audio Control System) project. The MIDIbrick will take the place of the 68HC11-based microcontroller boards that were used in that project initially. The Model 112 Control Surface is an extremely versatile MIDI controller that can be configured to do many control tasks.
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