When touch and tactility matter: “Station” DIY MIDI controller surface [Video]

Create Digital Music posted this great video and explanation of Station, a huge MIDI controller board built by Ander.

It’s a heady mix of coloured LEDs, control knobs and touch pads, and most importantly for our increasingly touchscreen generation, it provides touchy-feely feedback whenever you press something.

That might not bother the iPod/iPad generation, but if you’re used to real instruments and hardware control surfaces, it is a big deal. There’s nothing quite like getting proper touch feedback from something, and even mobile device haptic technology doesn’t quite cut it for everyone.

Anyway, watch the video because it’s worth seeing and listening to. Don’t ask me what all the controls do, because I don’t know. This is DIY after all, and if I was clever enough to build my own version I’d probably not put any labels on it either 😉

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Tellingly, Ander’s interview with CDM includes the line “I have not counted the buttons”. Awesome 🙂

But the basic specs are:

  • based on the open hardware platform ucapps.de
  • Aluminium casing, custom made
  • Acrylic knobs, also custom made
  • Modularized, can be made into any form
  • Flexible PCB: can hold sensors, encoders and/or buttons
  • Custom firmware on the microcontrollers
  • Custom software interface on the host computer which interfaces via MIDI (in my case to Live)
  • RGB LEDs, 24bit color depth (technically)
  • USB interface (plus power, this thing needs a lot of power for all these LEDs)