What is the MIDI-Moov?
The MIDI-Moov is a wireless, movement sensitive MIDI-controller that you can attach anywhere on your body or intrument using a Velcro strap. It plugs into existing effects pedals that are have a MIDI input, as well as computer software such as Logic Pro, Cubase and Ableton Live. The Moov lets you manipulate any combination of effects from the 3 axes of movement. Think of these axes as simply any movement in 3D space depending on what way up you have the device. For example, X, Y, Z movement could be analogous to up-and-down, side-to-side and front-to-back movement.
The MIDI-Moov comes in two parts, a transmitter (the bit you strap to your instrument) and a receiver (the bit that goes to your pedal / computer). The transmitter sends movement data to the receiver that sends subsequently sends MIDI data to whatever it’s attached to. In the picture above the transmitter is the red box and the receiver is the black box.
The Alpha Prototype – First Commercial Prototype
Our first commercial transmitter prototype (Fig.1) contains 1 large push switch, which you can slap. This button will turn the movement function on and off, meaning when you want to stop your body / instrument movement manipulating an effect, on stage or otherwise, you simply slap the transmitter.
The transmitter also contains two 3-way switches. The first switch activates the axis of movement you want to use, namely X, Y or Z. The second switch actives one of the Moov’s 3 modes – live, setup or off. Live mode lets you manipulate effects. Setup mode allows you to define the range of movement for an axis – you customise this depending on your performance style, i.e. sitting or standing. Off mode switches the device off.
The receiver will only contain one 2-way switch, allowing the user to turn the device on or off. Both devices will have a number of LED lights for feedback and device illumination when performing. We have a limited number of Alpha Stage MIDI-Moovs for sale. If you want one, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gamma Prototype – The MIDI-Moov Vision
As we scale the business, we aim to develop and improve the MIDI-Moov based on the feedback we get from the musicians using it. We think this idea has massive potential, but regardless of this, we know your feedback is crucial to the product’s success – we can’t evolve musical interaction without you!
We aim for The Gamma (aka final) prototype to be more lightweight, smaller and house more features. We have some great ideas for the future of this product, but we’re starting with the Alpha stage Moov to keep things simple.
So what’s MIDI?
MIDI is the industry standard protocol that lets electronic instruments communicate with each other. Think of it as the language of musical instruments, much like French is a language of humans. We’re using MIDI because it can be plugged straight into your existing software and hardware. We initially wanted to make all the software ourselves, because we’re super-ambitious, but why re-invent the wheel? There are some great products out there, and we want you to keep using them. Think of the MIDI-Moov as a new way of interacting with your current audio set-up, rather than a complete replacement.
Why not OSC?
Think of OSC as a more mature MIDI – so this begs the question, why havn’t we used it? As of now, our alpha stage prototype uses MIDI exactly as we intended – it works well. We want the give people a Moov that just ‘works’, thus we’re sticking with what we know best, and that’s MIDI. Despite this, we understand the potential and power of OSC, and are looking to implement it in future Moovs.
Example Moov Setup
To use the Moov, you will need either existing hardware with MIDI-input capabilities, like the BOSS GT-8, or existing software that can learn an external MIDI device, like Logic Pro 9. You would need a MIDI USB cable for the receiver box, and if you’re using a computer, an external audio interface, like Line6′s UX1.
Fig.2 shows an example Guitar Moov set-up:
- The guitar plugs into the audio interface using a normal 1/4 inch guitar lead – note the guitar has the Moov’s transmitter (the red box) strapped to it’s body.
- The audio interface plugs into the laptop via USB, and to the guitar amp via another guitar lead.
- The MIDI cable from the receiver plugs into the computer via USB.
How to use the Moov for the guitar set-up in Fig.2:
- Once everything is connected, you would turn the receiver and transmitter on.
- Once the devices pair, you would put the transmitter (the red box) into set-up mode, whereby you can set a range of movement for your desired axis.
- Once the range is set, you would put the transmitter into live-mode.
- Once in live-mode, you would learn the Moov’s movement in your software and assign the guitar’s movement to an effect (Fig.3). We used Logic Pro 9 in this example.
- Then your ready to start playing. Moving the guitar will manipulate the learnt MIDI parameter you’ve just set. Fig.4 shows the Moov manipulating the wet / dry signal of an echo effect.
Total set-up time only takes around 3 minutes.
Fig.5 – Video of Pre-Alpha MIDI-Moov used with echo effect in Logic Pro 9 over Jon Kennedy – Never Wed an Old Man
You can check out more MIDI-Moov sounds on SoundCloud
Here’s a quick run through of the Moov’s history:
1. Pre-Alpha Moov (made of cardboard!)
2. First Alpha Moov Concept
3. First Alpha Moov CAD Concept
4. Final Alpha Moov CAD Concept
5. The Alpha Moov Prototype