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Update: (6/2015) Be sure to check out my latest work!

Audiopad is a composition and performance instrument for electronic music which tracks the positions of objects on a tabletop surface and converts their motion into music. One can pull sounds from a giant set of samples, juxtapose archived recordings against warm synthetic melodies, cut between drum loops to create new beats, and apply digital processing all at the same time on the same table. Audiopad not only allows for spontaneous reinterpretation of musical compositions, but also creates a visual and tactile dialogue between itself, the performer, and the audience.

Audiopad has a matrix of antenna elements which track the positions of electronically tagged objects on a tabletop surface. It does not use cameras or computer vision. Software translates the position information into music and graphical feedback on the tabletop. Each object represents either a musical track or a microphone.

Audiopad was developed by James Patten and Ben Recht. It was first presented publicly in 2002. As far as we are aware, it was the first tabletop tangible musical controller of its kind.

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Audiopad installation at the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona as part of the Sonar 2003 Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art. 1:00
[QuickTime 2.8MB]
[Windows Media 1.1MB]


Audiopad wins Best in Show, Best in Academic Category, and Best Interactivity in Designing Interactive Systems 2004 design competition.

Audiopad recognized in 2004 Industrial Design Excellence Awards.

Audiopad performance at the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain on November 28th 2003, as part of the Motion Graphics Series (video coming soon...)

Audiopad performance at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria on September 7th 2003, as part of the Ars Electronica Festival for Art, Technology and Society

Read an article about Audiopad in Wired News. Or, read more coverage of Audiopad.

You can see an Audiopad installation in Linz, Austria at the Ars Electronica center from September 5th, 2003 until September of 2004.

See video of the Audiopad installation in Barcelona, Spain at the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona as part of the Sonar 2003 festival. [Quicktime, 2.8MB] [Windows Media 1.1MB]