I began work designing and building a hemispherical MIDI controller. The buttons have now arrived and I have breadboarded some of the buttons to put the controller in action. I will need to multiplex the buttons into the arduino and also multiplex the RGB LED outputs for visual feedback through the clear rim LED’s.
I use the arduino to query the state of the buttons and send this data to the serial monitor. A Max/MSP patch I wrote then listen for this data and is used to trigger MIDI messages into Ableton Live. When using a Baud rate of 9600, I noticed a slight amount of lag between the button press and the actual sound coming through. It was was barely perceivable, but I could feel it as a musician. I solved the problem by increasing the Baud rate to 115600 and it works great! Note how the action of the arcade buttons and the increased baud rate allow me to do “rapid fires” of the bass kick.
The spherical shape is indeed more ergonomic and I like the “symmetry” of the design. So I could rotate the device, keep my hands in the same position, use the same patterns but trigger a completely different set of sounds.
I call this device the “HeMidi” controller!