This is a Monome. It’s an amazing box of buttons powered by open-source applications written primarily for Max/MSP. It comes in three models, the two fifty six (16×16), one twenty eight (16×8), and sixty four (8×8). However, there is a slight issue with them.
They’re quite expensive. At $800 for the current 128 model and $500 for the 64 model, few people will be able to afford them. However, the very clever people over at Union Bridge labs have just submitted their newest application to the Apple app store: Haplome, a Monome emulator for the iPhone and iPad. As we all know, Apple’s phones and tablet computers are everywhere which means that a lot of people are going to be able to enjoy Monome functionality on their mobile devices.
This is exciting. Not only does it means that the knowledge of Monome will become far more widespread (thus helping out the lovely people at Monome), but it also means that people are going to be able to interact with their music in ways they would never have been able to before. Using Monome based applications in Max/MSP (or Max for Live) like the MLR, Step and Repeat (as well as the whole Monome community’s worth of live sample cutters, sequencers, math simulations, drum machines, generative controllers, tonal maps, games and visualisation applications) will give musicians a whole new way to look at their live sets, musical projects and so on. Being able to control their music with something as powerful as an iOS based Monome should be a great boon for digital musicians who already own iPhones and iPads and may already be used to incorporating them in with the rest of their equipment.
Here’s hoping that Apple give this app the go-ahead and bring it to the masses soon. If I were an iPhone owner I’d be pretty damn excited right about now.