Most of my group of tight buddies (and of course all the boys in the family) like Björk — a lot. Personally, I like both the tormented lyrics and the music.
So when Jason sent me a link to the “latest technology—the ReacTable” that is said to be used by Björk in performance, it was novel but also reminded me of a little toy that my sister-in-law’s kids have had for about a year now.
The toy is made by Zizzle and is called ZoundZ. It consists of an electronic base unit (I’ll call it the platform) with speaker, and a bunch of chess-like pieces that you can position, up to three at a time, on the platform. The pieces contain RFID chips (I’m assuming based on looking thru their translucent skins) and the platform contains three RFID readers and variable color/intensity lights under the skin at each of those three positions. So when you place a piece on a sensor, a sound loop is triggered. Moving the same piece from one sensor to another changes its effect. There seem to be about three or four different loops that each specific piece plays, for each of the three sensors – a single chip can account for maybe 12 different loops, depending on where you set it down. There’s a somewhat random selection algorithm that determines which loop plays out of the four when you place a piece on a sensor. The ZoundZ has six “fixed” chips plus a seventh that can be “recorded” with its own custom sound loop. The fixed chips correspond to “strings” “percussion” “bang on a can” and other instrument families.
The ReacTable also reminds me that I will be blogging about the newly-announced MicroSoft Surface (called a TablePC by some) soon!