Bliptronme: Bliptronic + Arduino = Monome




My latest instrument or rather control surface is the Blipronome. It’s a combo of two technologies put together by Wil Lindsay at /* straytechnologies  */ namely, the arduino and the bliptronic. The whole idea of the monome is haptic feedback and it’s engine is buttons and leds. Making an array of switches is easy enough for sure, I am typing on one now but there is no feedback loop to the actual keys just to the screen, Monome is different you click a button and it toggles from off (clear) to on (red) (or anything really it’s all programmable).

Inside the Bliptronome is a grid of switches and leds, Mr. Lindsay has taken the liberty to take this I/O and send it to an arduino. The arduino is running custom software based on what the people have been doing over at Arduinome. This software registers each button press sends it to a Ftdi chip and also gets messages from the computer and inturn tuns on leds. The Ftdi converts serial data to usb.

Once at the computer the there is a conversion package called the ArduinoSerial that is responsible for turning the serial data on the usb into either Midi or OSC  (think midi 2.0). From there you can do anything you want, you can use the switches to control your blender or a garage door if you want, but most of the programs are dedicated to music, and most of those have been written in MaxMsp and of that most of the awesome ones have been written by Tehn and Stretta. Some of my favorites so far are 64Step, Mlr, a full list of applications can be found here on the monome site.

Why Bliptronome: According to Stretta’s post on the history of the Monome :

Sales of the first 256 and 128 were quite swift compared to the original 40h. The first run of 64s sold out in two minutes.

256
September 2007 (100 units)
August 2008 (100 units)
July 2009 (100 units)

128
December 2007 (100 units)
May 2008 (100 units)
January 2009 (100 units)

64
January 2008 (200 units)
October 2008 (200 units)
January 2009 (200 units) Only 200 units made!!!

There aren’t that many monomes out there and they are expensive a 64 is going for $600 dollar on ebay right now. Further the diy arduinome is around $150 + with no case, and the nomome (Novastation Launchpad) for all intents and purposes is the best option is $200.

The Bliptronome comes in as being the cheapest option at about $130, and it also comes with 4 potentiometers that can be useful to some.

Bliptronome improvements:

  • The potentiometers I got in the kit didn’t have holes to guide the wire through which made soldering a real pain, this is an easy change the pots to ones with those little holes.
  • The Ftdi is just loosely hanging out. I think putting it inside an altoid tin or similar would ease some minds and make the whole thing more durable.
  • The play button is not used
  • The original  functionality of Bliptronic is lost (this is not that big of a deal)

In the Flesh:

One Comment

  1. Nicolas
    September 1, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Hi,

    I’ve finished my bliptronome few days ago ( the kit from straytech).
    (didn’t get the hole in the Pot and effectively it is a pain to daisy chain few cable).

    Are you using mlr with your bliptronome? i found that it is quite difficult to get correct timing because the button are switche and not pads .. do you have the same feeling ?

    REgards,
    Nicolas

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