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Ableton's Connection Kit lets you make music with Lego and a banana

And Arduino, and Leap Motion, and littleBits, and more

Type "Lego music machine" into YouTube and you can see all sorts of imaginative contraptions. But making tunes with those stackable bricks just became easier with the release of a new add-on pack for popular music software Ableton Live. The pack — named Connection Kits — lets users connect all sorts of programmable bits and pieces to Live, including Lego Mindstorms components, Arduino and littleBits controllers, webcams, and even Leap Motion's gesture sensors.

Connections Kit is basically a tool-box of, well, connections, letting users bodge together all sorts of bits of hardware and software in Live. You can see many of these at work in the Rube Goldberg-esque video from Ableton above. For the more technically-minded, here's a breakdown of what's happening in the video, via the company's YouTube:

  • 00:02 - Drumstick starts playhead, which triggers an LFO that controls a servo using the Arduino device
  • 00:07 - Another servo with a pen attached to it is being controlled by parameter changes in a clip
  • 00:11 - The golf ball is mapped to the XY pad of the camera device, which controls the frequency of a filter
  • 00:13 - The pendulum swings between a light sensor and a light source, this motion modulates an EQ8
  • 00:22 - LFOs in Live are controlling graphics in Processing using OSC
  • 00:25 - Input from Leap Motion controls Live using OSC
  • 00:30 - The golf ball triggers a MIDI note
  • 00:34 - The JSON Video device loops a video snippet, creating a new beat
  • 00:38 - Automation in Live controls the motors of the Lego Mindstorms EV3 device
  • 00:50 - The robot uses a crocodile clip to close a circuit when touching the banana
  • 00:53 - A pressure sensitive pad from littleBits is triggered by a hammer, causing the music to stop

For a full explanation of what Connections Kit can do you can check out its download page on Ableton's website. It's free to get as well, although you need Ableton Live 9 Standard (version 9.5 or higher) and the Max for Live extras library. Happy tinkering.