Tim Thompson’s Space Palette Pro – Version 0.1 Based on Sensel Morph

Back in April of 2011 I made a trip out to California to perform a set at the Art Institute of Sunnyvale. I met Tim Thompson at the show and he invited me over to see an early version of the Space Palette which I documented in a post and video here. Tim has spent years fining the original Space Palette. He just posted a video on a prototype for a new variation called Space Palette Pro.

A Quick Look Back at the Original Space Palette

Before looking at the new prototype, I thought it might be helpful to catch you up on the original Space Palette.

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The Space Palette is a musical and graphical instrument invented by Tim Thompson that lets you play music and paint visuals simultaneously by waving your hands in the holes of a wood frame. No pre-recorded media, sequences, or loops are used – everything is generated in real-time by your hands.
Since then Tim has continued to evolve Space Palette which he’s taken to many events such the San Jose Tech Museum in 2014, Burning Man 2014, Burning Man 2012, and Maker Faire 2013. While Tim’s main focus is for Space Palette to be a  “casual instrument for others to play”, he has also performed with it at  performance at STEIM in Amsterdam and another open house performance.  Check out the https://spacepalette.com to see learn more.

The New Space Palette Pro

The first generation Space Palette was based on a custom system that leveraged the Microsoft Kinect. Tim is now working on a new instrument called the Space Palette Pro using the Sensel Morph. Here is the first video of  the prototype.

5 years after creating the original Space Palette (see http://spacepalette.com), I’ve started working on a new version that makes use of the amazing Sensel Morph pressure-sensitive pads. This video show a first demo of the prototype after finally getting everything hooked up. The touchscreen is used for selecting presets and shows a preview of what would normally be displayed on a larger monitor or projector screen.

Links

If you want to follow Tim’s work:

Tim Thompson’s Space Palette at The Tech Museum of Innovation REBOOT:Music Exhibit in San Jose

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The Tech Museum  of Innovation in San Jose has kicked off a 6-month exhibit called REBOOT:music. The exhibit includes the latest version Tim Thompson’s Kinect-based Space Palette which is a musical and graphical instrument that lets you play music and paint visuals simultaneously by waving your hands in the holes of a wood frame.

Here is a video of Tim explaining the instrument.

It’s great to see how far Tim has taken the Space Palette since I first interviewed him back in 2011 on his work in this area.

In all there are 16 installations at this exhibit.

Unleash your inner music-maker at The Tech’s new exhibition, here for a limited engagement March 7 – August 17, 2014. Explore what it means to make music in the digital age. Interact, and inspire your creative spirit with the help of more than a dozen imaginative new musical instruments. 

Exhibition Highlights 

  • 16 installations by renowned artists that allow you to collaborate and explore the boundaries of music making.
  • Red Hot and Sympathetic Resonance, two large-scale, electro-acoustic experiences bring a technological twist to familiar acoustic instruments.
  • The multi-player ConnecTable invites spontaneous jam sessions with friends and strangers alike – no rehearsal necessary!
  • The Space Palette puts futuristic soundscapes at participants’ fingertips – literally. 
  • Stepping Tones’ immersive projection mapped environment lets participants create and visualize beats by hand.
  • The Laser Harp Alembic surrounds visitors with an orchestra of sounds, each just a pluck of the air away.
  • …and many more. 

In addition to the installations, the museum will host talks and workshops from artists, musicians, instrument builders, and creative tech luminaries to provide opportunities for deeper exploration and hands-on learning. And, for guests over 21, two evening concert events will bring together the best cutting-edge live music performers from all over the world. Stay tuned for details.

 

For more details on Tim’s work as well as links to more videos of the Space Palette in action visit Tim’s Official Space Palette Site . For more information on this exhibit, visit the REBOOT: Music Web Page.

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Mark Mosher
Boulder, CO
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

<<< Checkout my new album Fear Cannot Save Us

My First Solo Flight with Space Palette Kinect-Controller

My First Solo Flight with Space Palette from Mark Mosher on Vimeo.

Tim Thompson flew out from San Jose to present on his Space Palette kinect-based casual instrument this week Boulder Synthesizer Meetup (meetup.com/The-Boulder-Synthesizer-Meetup) on Nov 13th, 2012.

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The big news for me is he gave me a Space Palette frame! He actually came in a before the meetup and stayed to configure my system with his custom code and all the dependent parts and taught me how to launch, calibrate and customize.

After he flew home, I tore the system down and put it all back together and got it all running on my own :^). I then swapped out the audio instruments behind the scenes with Absynth patches to make my first solo performance. I shot this video while holding the camera behind the frame as I played. All audio and visuals are interactive and in response to the Kinect tracking my multi-touch movement (X,Y, Depth) through the various windows in the frame.

More here SpacePalette.com

SYNTHESIST MARK MOSHER, Boulder, CO 
Artist Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Show your Support with an Album buy: http://markmosher.bandcamp.com/
Synth Geek Blog: www.ModulateThis.com
Local Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/The-Boulder-Synthesizer-Meetup/

Update on Tim Thompson’s Kinect Space Palette + Burning Man 2012 Video

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Back in April of 2011 I posted “An Exclusive First Look at Tim Thompson's Kinect-Based Instrument”.  I got to hang out with Tim at the Guthman Instrument Competition at Georgia Tech in February and did a follow up post on his progress in April of this year, It’s been cool to see Space Palette evolve.

I spoke with Tim earlier this week via Skype to get an update. First off, here is some background in case this is the first time your hearing about the project.

What is the Space Palette?

The Space Palette is a musical and graphical instrument that lets you play music and paint visuals simultaneously by waving your hands in the holes of a wood frame. No pre-recorded media, sequences, or loops are used – everything is generated in realtime by your hands.

The wood frame is a reference for the player, while the Microsoft Kinect is used to detect the position of whatever hands (or objects) appear in the holes of the frame. The depth of your hands matters as much as their left/right/up/down position – it's like having multiple three-dimensional mouse pads in mid-air. Any number of hands can be used.

Musically, the large holes are like keyboards (left-to-right) on which you play individual notes, and hand depth controls things like vibrato and filters. Visually, the large holes allow you to paint with graphical shapes (heavily processed by visual effects), and hand depth controls their size.

The 12 small holes in the corners of the Space Palette are used to select different sets of sounds and graphics. Each of the 4 large holes plays a different sound and paints a different graphic, simultaneously.

Update

It ends up Tim brought the Space Palette to Burning Man again this year. Checkout this great video of Burning Man attendees playing the latest incarnation of the instrument. Here is what Tim had to say about the latest version of Space Palette:

This video shows the latest version of the Space Palette at Burning Man 2012. It was running every night from 9pm to 5am, with almost constant use because of its placement in Illumination Village (Esplanade and 2:15). I re-used pieces of Monolith 2.0 (my installation from 2009) to construct a wood projector screen designed to withstand high winds, and I built boxes to protect the projector and laptop from the dust.

The sounds and graphics were much improved from previous versions, and the user interface was simplified. All 12 of the small holes now do the same thing – each one selects a preset of both sounds and graphics, and the name of the preset is briefly displayed on the projected image to provide feedback.

The preset names made it easier for people to find the sounds they wanted to use. Headphones were provided, allowing people to hear the sounds more clearly. All in all, it performed extremely well, and people enjoyed it immensely.

House Performance

Here is another video I found of Tim playing Space Palette. There is more ambient light in the room so it’s easier to see how the instrument works.

More Info
A longer version of the video above can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxn2K3_07nU . For more information about the Space Palette, visit http://spacepalette.com.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html
www.ModulateThis.com