MaDD: A soft-surface musical sampler
May - August 2020
As a part of a fellowship with NYC Media Lab and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), I was a part of a team that explored how emerging technologies can unlock new ways to create and experience music.
We tackled the limits of expressivity of current musical instruments by re-imagining the surface that is used to play music. Moving away from the current paradigm of switches, knobs, dials and other hard surfaces, we invented a new soft surface that was responsive, expressive, easy and joyful to use. The invention, MaDD is a portable soft-surface sampler that captures nuances in a user’s touch, allowing for increased expressiveness and customization of sound.
I was responsible for designing, fabricating and interfacing the soft sensor that was at the heart of the music instrument.
What it does
The sampler lets you record any snippet of sound.The music algorithm analyses the waveform for four peaks and cuts the audio into 4 pieces. These audio pieces are overlaid on the soft surface which can then be expressively manipulated with your fingers to create your own musical composition.
We had applied for the fellowship with the idea before Covid was a reality. Hardware is hard and doing the project from our bedrooms without access to any maker-space equipment proved to be a very challenging process. I had the pleasure of working with a talented and passionate team that stayed flexible through the adversities and did not compromise on the original vision.
This project is a part of my larger research into fabricating stretchable circuits and wearables using maker-space equipment. If this excites you or you have ideas, Please get in touch and I would love to collaborate with you!