I have previously posted several items about multi-touch interfaces: Jefferson Han’s work here and here, and the Microsoft Surface here. I was therefore quite excited to come across Reactable, described by its developers at the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona as a “musical instrument with a tangible user interface”.
However, that’s actually a pretty daft description of it (in oh so many ways): it’s simply a multi-touch interface to a virtual studio built using PD. It’s constructed in the same way as the Microsoft Surface, with the touchscreen positioned above a camera and projector. Here are the Reactable ‘Basic Demos’ 1 & 2:
Pretty neat. I can see there might be major problems using it—e.g. interfacing, playing a tune, remembering patches or sequences, and it’s not exactly portable—but I would love to see something like this as (part of) an interface to a commercial synth or something like Reason.
It’s the future.