The Snyderphonics Manta. With a few exceptions like the rare Buchla Thunder and the ZenDrum, computer musicians were stuck with controllers disguised as traditional instruments, rolling their own, or using grids of generic rubber pads. The Manta, in the spirit of the Serge TKB's capacitance touchplate construction, attempts to do something new, and people are already doing interesting things with it. Videos: polyphonic keys, sequencer, technique, and lots more
Max/MSP is a graphical programming environment primarily used for music, video and multimedia. Max/MSP has sometimes been described as a digital erector set. David Tinapple describes Max in this way: "it's like you're drawing a diagram of what you want the program to do, and then when you're done drawing the diagram you've also sort of accidentally programmed it". [more inside]
To work around the proprietary whims of digital audio software developers and laptop processor limitations during the mid- and late-1990s, a small band of technically-minded people, including the electronic musician Blitter, pulled together in the late 1990s to engineer the open-source OPEN DSP EZ-Kit platform, a 16-bit computer designed entirely with a focus on low cost and extensible control and DSP arithmetic capabilities. While this project and similar commercial offerings never seemed to gain the critical mass needed to sustain long-term interest, perhaps the new Arduino hardware project from MIT's Processing hardware group may gain a foothold with Processing and Pure Data audio software hobbyists and artists alike, allowing the creative community to extend, enhance and share inventive uses of new technology. Arduino's use has already begun in fascinating museum installations around the world, and has become a part of this year's SONAR and Ars Electronica festivals.