Arduino makers project - MeMix


MeMix is a tangible music mixing instrument created by 5 students from the 15-16 IxD Master class, PolyU Hong Kong. This instrument basically enables users to compose simple drum beats by placing cubes, and remix soundtracks by using various hand movements and gestures.

Supervisor: Dr. Clifford Choy


What have you made?

This project is a simple mixing instrument for users to easily create their own tracks of music, in a way different from what we usually compose.

What gave you the initial inspiration?

Music is always around us and enjoyed by everyone. Besides appreciating songs from others, we do wanna have a try to make something which is easy but funny for us to compose our own track of music – for non-professionals like most of us, only some basic drum beats and simple loops can already delight us a lot.

What is the original idea behind this project?

So this is the initial idea of this project, that is to give everyone an opportunity to become a DJ. Starting from this direction, we come up with something similar to a mixing machine, but in a easier way. We can wave our hands in the air to controls the soundtrack, and leave the cubes placed on the machine to loop the beats.

How does it work?

The instrument is basically divided into 2 parts. One is the Leap Motion part that senses the hand motion and gesture: show fist to mute the soundtrack, move up and down to control the volume, and move back and forth (like what a DJ usually do) to add the scratch sound effect. The other part is the beats unit. In this version of design, we have 16 beats as a loop and 3 different drum sounds (kick, snare and hat) are available for mixing. Aside from the main body, each of the cube can be placed on the platform to control 4 beats. From left to right, a LED light is showing where the current beat is running, so that you know when to put on a cube or not.

How long did it take to make it real?

It takes us around 1 month from coming up with ideas to finishing the construction of the entire instrument.

How did you build it?

For the physical part, the surface of the installation is laser-cut with black PMMA board. The beat cubes can be connected to the platform by copper strips underneath. For the sensor and programming part, a Leap Motion sensor and an Arduino Mega board are both connected to the host computer. With a LED light strip, 3 laser lights and the connecting platform connected to the Arduino board, we can communicate with all the parts in Processing.