the 'reacTable'

Posted: 6/10/2007 5:34:47 PM

Joined: 1/26/2007

I seen Bjork using this wierd instrument I've never seen before on later with jools holland, I found out it's called a 'reacTable'

here's the clip of the 'reactable' in action-

I have no idea how it works, but it's one of the few instruments I've seen that appear to be stranger than the theremin. ?????????????
Posted: 6/10/2007 6:18:38 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Good video - I'm delighted to see it used in a musical context, rather than just demos.

It's a modular synth emulator with a tangible user interface ( The interface allows you to create patches in real time by putting tablets representing basic synth functions on a table - if two are close enough a connection is made between them. Twisting a tablet on the table is equivalent to turning a knob.

A digital camera continuously scans the underside of the frosted glass table, and image recognition software recognises the symbols on the underside of the tablets, along with their orientation and proximity to other tablets. From this information the computer patches a virtual modular synth accordingly, and also provides visual feedback illustrating the functioning of the soft synth by projecting appropriate images back onto the table.

I'd love one!

Demo videos and more info:
Posted: 6/12/2007 6:57:27 PM

Joined: 1/26/2007

Oh I see.....

It does seem like a really cool instrument with alot of potential to make good music with and not just a gimmick, I also want one.

Bet it costs an arm and a leg though.
Posted: 6/19/2007 10:41:04 PM

From: Quebec, Canada

Joined: 6/18/2007

I've been watching these videos all day now that you've introduced me to them. I really like the radar piece, it would be so simple to make awesome rhythms with that. I want one.
Also, this has a lot of unexploited potential for Steve Reich-style phase music. Just throw on two red metronome pieces and speed one up a little wee bit. I really want one.
Posted: 7/5/2007 6:29:29 AM

From: Germany

Joined: 12/12/2006

It should be possible to build one yourself,

here is the project site:

The software is a open source project and there are a lot of papers available on the site explaining how it works and how the hardware has to be set up.
I think due to the fact that it is an open source project, the inventors will be helpful for people trying to build one.

The OS Software is reacTIVision, which i understand is available both for Win32 and MacOS.

The PC and IR camera setup needs a wide angle lens system, but that shouldn't be to expensive.
The Open source software allows to send Midi commands, so midi synth systems could be used as a starting point.

As i understand the software platform is configurable to send Midi commands related to the used fiducial markers=controllers of the music.
You can use for example on a Mac Reaktor as a Audio software:

fiducial markers -> projection -> IR detection -> Midi Command -> Audio system plays.


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