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SketchSynth lets you draw your own touchscreen interface on a piece of paper

Music editing softwares like GarageBand help to turn anyone at home into their own music mogul (at least in their minds), but let’s face it — synthesizers can be expensive along with audio equipment and studio tools if you want to produce professional sounds. If you’ve ever wanted to design your own audio mixer to tailor the functions to just what you need, the SketchSynth might just be the innovation you’re looking for.

The possibilities are endless with the SketchSynth which will allow you to draw your own machine on a blank piece of paper. After you’re happy with the design, a webcam simply reads the shapes you’ve drawn and shines a light on the outlines to denote functions. Now, your paper is a touchscreen interface that will interact with your every move. The camera is able to read your controls by detecting the green in human skin and watching what the finger does to the drawn up synthesizer. The flexibility of the design allows the user to custom make the interface to fit their audio needs as well as finger size and spacing.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by control panels. In elementary school, my neighbor and I would spend our bus rides pretending to operate incredible imaginary machines with cardboard controllers we drew, cut, and taped the night before,” Carnegie Mellon student and SketchSynth designer Billy Keyes writes on his blog. “I tried to capture some of that excitement, updated for an age where imagining that your picture of a switch does something just isn’t as satisfying.”

At the moment, the SketchSynth can only recognize basic shapes such as lines, circle, and rectangles to denote the three functions though Keyes says the system won’t reject other shapes if users want to experiment. Still, these three basic input types are some of the more crucial buttons and helps to streamline the process into simple controllers. While the SketchSynth is only a creative project in its early stage, future development of the concept could truly change the way we make music at home, or even bring similar practical technology to functions outside of audio mixing.

Without further ado, appreciate the SketchSynth in all its glory with the video below. To learn more about the technical details and inspiration behind the SketchSynth, visit Keyes’ blog for more info.

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