Bubblegum Sequencer
Making Music With Candy

What is the Bubblegum Sequencer?

The Bubblegum Sequencer is a physical step sequencer that lets you create drumloops by arranging colored balls on a tangible surface. It generates MIDI events and can be used as an input device to control audio hardware and software. Finally, people can't claim anymore that electronic music isn't handmade.

Here's how it works: A grid of holes, consisting of several rows with 16 holes each is the canvas. On it, you arrange colored gumballs. The 16 columns represent the 16th-notes in a measure. Each color is mapped to a specific sample.

Because the output is generated in the form of MIDI events, the Bubblegum Sequencer can be used to control any kind of audio hardware or software.

If you'd like to know more about the Bubblegum Sequencer, read our course paper.


Here's a video showing some of the Bubblegum Sequencer's current features:

(Download video as .mov file)

How it's done

The Bubblegum Sequencer senses the position of the balls through a video camera mounted underneath the surface. The captured image is processed by a computer vision routine that computes the average color in each hole. The colors are quantized and mapped to notes. For each note, a MIDI event is generated and sent to the operating system's MIDI bus.

The computer vision software is written in Java and makes use of the ImageJ image processing library.


In addition to the original features shown in the video, we've implemented a few more: