Hey Naaman? You get one of those shiny new iPad things? Ever since I saw them…I thought there was something there. Such a nice big screen. So many colors. It’s stunning. Makes me want to hit it with something.
Apple, well Mr. Steve, seems to dislike the idea of input devices aside from your hand. No pens. No stylus. Use it naturally. I think there’s something to that mantra, but then again, we do a lot as humans with tools and instruments. The exacto knife, a spatula, a paint brush…all of these things let us manipulate and create things around us. Touching is great for interacting, but we tend to create with instruments.
So, when I thought to myself that I wanted to poke and hit an iPad, I had a problem. I had no iPad. As fortune would have it, I borrowed one for one month from a friend in exchange for a box of fancy chocolates.
The second issue arose when I remembered the touch screen is capacitive. Hit it all day long with a stick; nothing. It need to carry a charge and feel like a relatively fatty finger. I immediately thought of modern conductive fabric; much less greasy than a korean sausage though not as tasty.
Armed with a metal dowel, conductive fabric, textured cotton, and some string, I showed up at Music Hackday in SF one Saturday morning and made some drumsticks. You can see how I built the sticks on Instructables:
iSticks: How to make a drumstick for an iPad. – More DIY How To Projects
Now…with sticks in hand, I built my second ever iPhone app. A Taiko drum. Just to test the idea out. Not wanting to make another R8 drum kit on my borrowed iPad, I thought of a more esoteric instrument. A Steel Pan drum! Once I built the steel drum, I realized I didn’t know how to play it. So I made a tutorial that acts like a whack a mole game and teaches you how to play twinkle twinkle little star. The app won two awards at the San Francisco Music Hack Day.
Currently, iSteelPan and iTaiko are free in the App Store, which took some doing (initially Apple said I had some trade mark infringements around the tutorial). Distribution of apps…someone should run a workshop on that. Oh right, Henriette Cramer is; Deadline’s in two days…good luck!