The dadamachines automat toolkit is a slightly weirdly named music technology machine from Johannes Lohbihler. Through the use of motors and solenoids it gives you the ability to bang, poke, tap and move real objects in the hope of making some musical sound. It’s just released on Kickstarter and by the time I finish writing this they should have hit their goal of €20,000, on their first day.
Maybe it’s supposed to be like a celebratory reveal noise: “dada!” and then “machines”. Anyway, the automat toolkit is a MIDI controller that transforms your MIDI input into triggers for the actuators of your choice. That could be a motor moving something, or triggering a beater, a poke or strike against an object. It’s really up to you how you use and interpret the movement.
So you get your DAW, or your iPad, or MIDI keyboard, plug it in and you can start bashing real objects – glasses, plates, drums, ornaments, whatever you want to connect it to. It’s the ultimate environmental drum machine.
The heart of the toolkit is the automat controller box. It has MIDI In/Out and Thru, USB and 12 DC outputs to run the external bits and bobs. Amongst the tools on offer are a solenoid motor, a lego adapter, a “materialdrum” which bounces beads or bells, a “little wingman” that can hold a solenoid to a surface, a round object mount and a mallet. It’s all run on an Arduino which is completely hackable and open source.
You just have to watch the video to see how awesomely engaging this is. Perfect for sound installations, perfect for getting music back out of the screen and into reality. Perfect for engaging children and adults with the beauty of music technology.
At the moment you can get the automat board, assembled but without a case for €89. A complete automat controller can be had for $169 or a basic toolkit with 3 solenoid motors and adapters for $299. The full kit, with 6 solenoids, and all the elements as mentioned above is going for $399 – that’s the one I think.
It looks like a whole world of fun. To get in on the action before all the early bird deals disappear head over to their Kickstarter page.