By Evan Ackerman
I’m generally in favor of anything that’s both practical and edible at the same time, and although a MIDI sequencer might not be the most practical thing ever and bubble gum isn’t technically edible, who cares, this thing looks like fun. The Bubblegum Sequencer was designed by Hannes Hesse, Andrew McDiarmid and Rosie Han for a course at UC Berkeley called “Theory and Practice of Tangible User Interfaces,” which is the sort of awesome sounding course that my school didn’t offer (sigh). Since the production of the video, some new features have been added to the sequencer:
-Tempo tapping: Tap three or more times on a pressure-sensitive area on the side of the sequencer to set a new tempo for the playback loop.
-Visual feedback: The sequencer now sports a row of running LEDs to indicate the current position. We’ve also experimented with projecting animations of popping bubbles onto the surface to provide direct feedback which beats are currently played.
-Melody mode: Instead of just playing monophonic beats, we developed a mode in which the vertical position of the balls encodes the pitch of the sample played. To increase the range, two balls can be combined, totalling seven different possible notes on the blues scale.
And of course, because of the way it’s designed, you can replace the MIDI samples with whatever you want, or extend/combine boards to make more complicated loops. You could even replace the gumballs with, say, marbles… But on second thought, since you can’t eat marbles, that would render the device more or less useless. My advice? Go for mini jawbreakers, those things totally
are rocks rock.