A Simple and Effective Open-Source Platform
for Implementing Haptic Musical Instruments

by Edgar Berdahl

When we asked a colleague of ours why people do not make more haptic musical instruments, he replied that ``they are too hard to program.'' We decided to solve the problem by introducing HSP, a simple platform for implementing haptic musical instruments. HSP obviates the need for employing low-level embedded control software because the haptic device is controlled directly from within the Pure Data (Pd) software running on a general purpose computer. Positions can be read from the haptic device, and forces can be written to the device using messages in Pd. Various additional objects have been created to facilitate rapid prototyping of haptic musical instruments in Pd. Rather than focusing on traditional haptic musical instrument designs, we focus on instruments which can be implemented easily given objects already available in Pd. Since the haptic control signals are processed as messages within Pd, instrument designers are most likely to make use of the same metaphors that motivated the development of Pd itself and its extended libraries. We discuss example Pd patches allowing a musician to interact by way of a haptic device with virtual elements such as a spring, a wall, a damper, a drum, a bowed string, a force profile, a surface, and a remotely-controlled physical musical instrument. So far HSP supports the Falcon haptic device from NovInt.
E. Berdahl, G. Niemeyer, J. O. Smith III,
HSP: A Simple and Effective Open-Source Platform for Implementing Haptic Musical Instruments,
Proc. of the Ninth International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression,
June 4-6, 2009 - Pittsburgh, PA.


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