Paper MIDI Controllers
Britain’s Novalia specialises in the production of electronic music devices fashioned from unexpected surfaces, like paper.
With a recent project, built as a collaboration between former physicist (and company founder) Kate Stone and Swedish musician Cornelia, the promising tech-branding company utilised conductive ink, capacitive touch and conventional electronics to provide a musical experience in a new format, combining science, design and music. When touched, Cornelia’s playable album poster plays its songs through a built in speaker, which includes volume control.
In addition to the poster, the pair have also been working on a paper MIDI controller with full Ableton Live integration capabilities. The controller uses the poster’s technological framework, combining it with MIDI processing and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.
“The printed conductive inks create very simple capacitive touch sensors (similar to a smart phone) anywhere on the surface, the silicon chip detects where has been touched, converts that into a MIDI command and sends it via Bluetooth to an iPhone or MacBook. We run the Apple BLE MIDI profile, so our PrintedMIDI controllers just appear as regular MIDI devices, working with any software such as GarageBand, Ableton etc. We can print these controllers in any size from post card size to over two meters,” says Stone
The duo want to expand upon the technologic capabilities, however, and continue to investigate the potential of transforming other mundane surfaces into MIDI controllers: walls, floors, stage objects and props, could all become integrated parts of performance in the near future.