I am one of the very very lucky few to get their hands on a DADA Machines Automat Kit already. I’ve known about this product since I met Johannes in Slovenia for MTF and have wanted one ever since then! He launched a very successful kickstarter a few weeks ago and achieved his goal within 6 hours! So it won’t be long before lots of other people get to play with this fantastic bit of kit.
It allows you to control the physical world via digital controllers by converting MIDI signals to electrical signals. Which sounds simple, but without this kit would take aaaaagggggeeeesssss trying to get right. It is INSTANTLY plug and playable, I first connected it up to my phone using a very basic MIDI app and it worked, then I connected it to my tablet, and it worked, and then I tried a bunch of different free programs on my laptop (reaper, pure data, Tabit) and they all worked too! There was next to no set-up required for any of the MIDI interfaces I tried so it genuinely is plug-and-play.
I invited Johannes over to showcase the kit and to get the general public to play with it, tinker, make their own music and instruments via our Hackoustic network. The highlights of the evening are here:
So what can it control? Anything that requires electricity to function, which is quite a wide range of things!
In the video above the most common thing being used are Solenoids, which are little devices that make a rod quickly move forwards when a current is added to it, and then releases when the current is stopped. There are attachments that can be added to make the solenoids control beaters or attach to round objects etc. all of which are included in some of the Automat Kit bundles.
I have used solenoids and the Automat kit for my #MTFBerlin hack previously:
Motors can be used with the Automat kit, I’ve used motors a lot in my instruments to excite strings and springs and even just create disturbances in pickups. So there’s a TON of exciting things that can be done with motors and the Automat.
LEDs can be driven direct from the Automat, it’s range is between 12 and 24 volts which you can easily find LED strips to work with that. If you’re wanting a bit more excitement, you can use a 24v Relay on a mains circuit to control the mains 240v! (110 in USA). With this nifty trick you can control standard lamps/lights, power tools, hair dryers, blenders, all sorts!
I have been experimenting with the kit and finding new things to control and ways to have it interact musically with physical things. Most of my findings I’ll post to my Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/vulpestruments) if you’re interested in seeing my progress on a more regular basis.
My latest result has been having it interact with Pure Data running off of a Raspberry Pi, I’m using my python script from the Hummingbird instrument to send twitter data to pure data which then controls the midi being sent to the Automat! I’ll do another post about all that later on.
I’m certain we will all be hearing a lot more about DADA Machines in the future, and I’m pretty excited to be involved with it all from the beginning. I’ll be bringing it to most events I do in the future as an easy way to interact with some of my instruments and it opens a whole new avenue of new possibilities for instrument creations.