Hey, so i've sufficiently filled in the feature set enough that I feel comfortable posting the results of the new round of prototyping I've done around my hardware interface that you can use as a controller for programmatic visuals or as a step sequencer for music.
Here's the latest demo video:
The basic premise is that it reads all the buttons and sliders and whatnot, then outputs a serial data stream which is picked up by a processing app, which in turn translates those into OSC messages. From there you can control whatever you like, processing, quartz composer, etc. However, we're bundling a companion app that my collaborating partner has built in Max/msp called "steppa" that creates a MIDI loop for music. This lets you plug into any modern music app: Logic, Live, Reason, GarageBand, and presumably others.
here's a peek at "under the hood" at an earlier stage... whoopsie... bugs on the PCB : :
and Hello, beautiful... the arduino mega:
So, I'll go ahead and claim that this is an arduino mega shield. I'm using eeeeevery pin.
Making drum beats on a computer with this interface is a bit of fun. I'm not sure I've seen a too many projects for the arduino that are designed for boring things, so I'm glad it's easy to see that the core purpose of my project is to have fun. That's exactly what it's for. And yes, I'd say I'm pretty good at it. Most people who put their hands on this project end up having a lot of fun and get pretty good at it pretty quickly.
My band Haptic Synapses has played many performances with this project as the main tool I use along with music software for most of this year now. My bandmate Derek has been using one as his primary tool for almost half the year too. We're working on our third bandmate now. He's not using one yet, but as soon as I make another one, he'll switch over too. Then we'll have a thing going on. Check out the music we've recorded http://hapticsynapses.com