Sam Jacoby


Posted . [Last updated . ]

This is a project that brings together a broad set of my research at MIT

TapClip is a specialized capactive sensor board that I’m using as a test-bed for exploring ad-hoc user-interface design, and more broadly, self-made technologies.

It’s served as a platform, both for StoryClip, as well as SynthClip below, which is a self-contained musical interface, running a simple 8-bit wave generation algorithm. Each clip was associated with a specific set of tones, which it cycled through automatically. Pressing multiple clips blended their sounds together. This would be a good place to have an mp3 or something.1

If only you could hear it’s 8-bit purring.

TapClip, as a general concept, shares much with the Makey Makey. Jay & Eric worked just downstairs from me at the Media Lab, and I stole every idea I could find. The key difference is simply in the basic use-case. The Makey Makey is designed to emulate a keyboard, so works in tandem with a computer. This opens up a series of sophisticated interactions that take full-advantage of a computer’s horsepower (and internet connectivity). That moves the focus of interaction from the computation itself, to the materiality of the conductive substrate. That, and technically, TapClip relied on a series of simple two-pin capacitive sensors, rather than the resistive pins in the Makey Makey.

The Eagle files are available here.

I’ve also documented some of my process in a variety of briefer posts. Take a look.

  1. Nope.