Unreal Multi-Touch Music Interface

I happened across the above video of JazzMutant’s “Dexter” on the C|Net News blog (Link) last night and while interesting in and of itself a couple of things came to mind:

  • 1) from a design perspective, the lack of tactility seems counter-intuitive to me. The guy giving the demo specifically talks about “great ergonomics”, but as an owner of an old analog multi-track recorder/mixer, I have some doubts. In particular, check it out around 2:42. Notice the delay between his dragging the icon and it following his finger. I’m no pro, but that would irritate me. Not only that, but it seems to me the user’s eyes have to stay pretty much glued to the electronic slider as a result. With an analog there’s a sense of placement that a user gets from real touch.
  • 2) from the sci-fi perspective, this device doesn’t remind me of Star Trek: TNG as much as it does of the Doom3 interfaces I’ve mentioned on several occasions (Link to images I posted on the Core77 forum). That of course leads to what would seem to be an obvious conclusion: with the success of the “Guitar Hero” videogame and the excitement over the upcoming “Rock Band” game (Link to video of the very recent E3 demo), legitimate virtual bands are on the near horizon.

    What intrigues me most is that these bands can shape their image in ways that they could never manage in meatspace. Recall my earlier post “Age of the New Flesh” (reLink) and a follow-on post (reLink) in which I asked, “If you’re a band that’s lost its sex appeal, what better way to hide the years than by interacting through a heavily-mediated electronic representation?” We’re going to witness some shy but extremely talented people emerge from all this developing technology.

  • As an aside, watching JazzMutant’s device in action gave me an idea for a completely different kind of interface; something I’ve never seen but which may exist as a concept somewhere. I’m fairly certain it can’t be made now, but some day it’ll be possible. And when it arrives, it’s going to rock.