Dynamic Laser MIDI Controller

M. Kimbrough, J. Fulwood, and S. Sukittanon(USA)


Laser, MIDI controller, musical synthesizer, light sensor.


Since 1970s, electronic musical synthesizers have been increasingly used in the music industry ranging from electric pianos to electronic drums. Commercial brands like: Moog, Korg, Roland, Yamaha, and Akai have revolutionized the industry by designing instruments that can produce realistic mimicry of their acoustic counterparts. Several years before electronic instruments became popular, the first laser was also built, and now lasers are commonly integrated in many large light shows around the world. This paper will discuss the Dynamic Laser MIDI Controller that strives to bridge the gap between the worlds of laser light shows and musical performance. An array of diffracted laser beams is used as an interface for users to play the notes they choose. Every time a beam is broken, a note is generated using MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) format, the most common protocol for musical synthesizers. To achieve musical dynamics, sensors are used to detect the velocity of the mallets in order to simulate the impact that would normally be heard on an acoustic percussion instrument. Finally, the Dynamic Laser MIDI Controller is capable of connecting to any device with MIDI capabilities.

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