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Software: Open plea to John: The Case for a User Mode

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written by: barnone

I was just kidding.

Just saying that eventually this technology could do grids as well for monome type keyboard. Seems that eigenD is designed to not care about the dimensions of the buttons and the technology could be designed or licensed into all sorts of interesting footprints in the future.

written by: barnone

Wed, 17 Mar 2010 16:24:00 +0000 GMT

Hi John,

This is a bit of a direct plea to you.

I'm making the case for a new mode called "User" mode. This is certainly down the road but I could see it taking off with Open Sourcing the software, although if it existed, it would not require having access to any code since the interface would be via a simple public OSC protocol over UDP connections to eigenD.

You enter user mode just like entering for example your sequencer. The canvas size available depends on the keyboard splits just like for any other mode.

The idea is to have a very basic decoupled open protocol for

#1 receiving raw keypresses and continuous key and controller data from the device
#2 Ability to light leds on the device.

#1 and #2 are completely decoupled. All data is comletely transparent to eigenD and the eigenharp, meaning that eigenD/eigenharp make no attempt to interpret or act on the data beyond reporting key/controller interactions and allowing leds to be lit.

This is the concept behind the monome and it would allow this "User" mode to be a blank slate for an infinite number of applications. These applications could allow for many creative uses that your company would never care to explore on their own.

The Novation Launchpad did just this. They of course have nice default functionality out of the box, but they also have "User" modes where a user can decide what the mode does. It uses midi which is not as elegant but of course it only took a few days before monome apps were ported to the launchpad and that was a big factor in it's success.

The other benefit of an OSC protocol is that user code does not run inside the process of eigenD, thus shielding you from crashes or other errors that might happen. eigenD simply is a broker for this data which passes transparenty through.

The monome protocol is documented here:

I realize that the pico has no leds. In this case, applications would be simply limited to take advantage of #1. The lack of real estate would make it hard to use the same apps on pico as alpha anyway.

So there is my plea.

Thanks for you consideration,
Chris Lloyd

written by: john

Wed, 17 Mar 2010 18:57:15 +0000 GMT

Hi Chris

What you are asking for actually already exists in EigenD, with the exception of an OSC gateway that we'll probably get to later this year. EigenD is actually just a host for Agents - these are discrete bits of code. The protocol between agents is network transparent, i.e; it runs over Ether or between processes. You already see this with the Commander and Browser, which use it but are separate processes. There is no reason that these can't run on a different computer. The only reason that you are not seeing this more widely used as of yet is that there is a nasty bug still in our network code that very occasionally causes machines to run slowly. We haven't found it yet, although we are looking.

What you are asking for is pretty much the design objective of EigenD - a system in which a variety of software can run, sometimes on separate hardware and in different processes. We're nearly there with that as it stands and I do not think it will be too long before that is the case (and your discussion of 'modes' is really just different Setups in EigenD land - a minimal setup could just load the driver and a OSC agent to meet your desires here for example, if we had an OSC gateway).

You will have to wait for the open source release of EigenD though to take advantage of this as a developer. I do not yet have a firm ETA on this.


written by: barnone

Wed, 17 Mar 2010 19:33:26 +0000 GMT

Thanks for your response.

That of course sounds wonderful. I did notice that the browser and commander windows were there own process but wasn't unsure if communication was something that a developer could eventually tap into.

Waiting is no problem. Knowing that you've thought of these scenarios and are supportive of such ideas is enough.


written by: Tenebrous

Fri, 19 Mar 2010 11:30:05 +0000 GMT

Just a minor note, but the Pico *does* have LEDs on all buttons. I'm presuming the buttons & led units are just 'standard' (within Eigenlabs at least) and are used on all three models.

Also, I'm personally really impressed with the responsiveness & support of Eigenlabs, which also encourages me to wait (reasonably) patiently for new features (i.e. Windows EigenD, or indeed OSC). :)

written by: geert

Fri, 19 Mar 2010 11:31:14 +0000 GMT

@tenebrous, the major difference is that the leds on the Alpha are controlled by the on-board chip, while on the Pico they have to be controlled through EigenD. This makes it much more difficult to light them up rapidly.

written by: john

Fri, 19 Mar 2010 12:33:33 +0000 GMT

Geert is quite correct, although from inside EigenD (if you were for example writing your own agent) and interacting with the instrument Agent (effectively it's driver) the Alpha, Tau and Pico all look exactly the same, just bigger of smaller...


written by: barnone

Fri, 19 Mar 2010 16:19:54 +0000 GMT

You can tell I've never seen a pico up close before.

Down the road for the 4th model. I'd love to see a eigen button box ala monome style but with all the expressiveness of these instruments.

Not everyone wants an instrument around their neck on stage, especially when you need to control more than one device. Would also appeal to producers and studio users who want a keyboard-like device at their desk. Would be great for beats with the velocity, sample slicing all that as well.

written by: geert

Fri, 19 Mar 2010 16:33:39 +0000 GMT

@barnone, some people are already using the Pico flat on a table, this gives you 18 buttons (which isn't much) to use. Just remove the breath pipe and you're good to go.

written by: barnone

Fri, 19 Mar 2010 20:33:01 +0000 GMT

So I only need 4 picos to get my 8x8. or technically 8 x 9

8 x 8 and 8 x 16 are the magic grid sizes I guess add a column for the control buttons.

written by: geert

Fri, 19 Mar 2010 20:34:45 +0000 GMT

Yeah, probably :-)

However, you'll have the strip controller in the middle, which might be annoying for you. I'm not sure it's possible atm to connect all these picos at once, but John did hint some months ago that this wasn't an impossibility technically.

written by: barnone

Fri, 19 Mar 2010 21:01:58 +0000 GMT

I was just kidding.

Just saying that eventually this technology could do grids as well for monome type keyboard. Seems that eigenD is designed to not care about the dimensions of the buttons and the technology could be designed or licensed into all sorts of interesting footprints in the future.

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