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Reactogon Interactive Sequencer Reminds Me of Star Trek

by Paul Strauss

I recently came across this rather cool user interface for a music sequencer called the ReactOgon. Looking like something you’d find on the deck of the Starship Enterprise, the instrument uses a large tabletop multi-touch interface to create music sequences in real time.

ReactOgon Sequencer

The creators of the ReactOgon call it a “chain reactive performance arpeggiator”, which dynamically shifts its patterns and sequences based on coded discs placed on the flat-panel interface.

Each hexagonal cell on the surface represents a fixed note on the harmonic table. The placement of the discs influences the whether or not a note is played, as well as its placement in the sequence. By stringing together a number of directional discs, an entire musical sequence can be created. Special discs can also initiate multiple sequences, for more complex patterns. A bank of touch-sensitive sliders are then used to change volume, timbre and rhythm of the notes.

There’s no word on if or when the developers of this technology plan on commercializing the concept.

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Comments (19):

  1. the scholar says:

    the large disc farthest down in the photo reminds me of a floating, singing south park character head.


  2. technabob says:

    You wanna know what he’s saying?
    “No Kitty, That’s my Pot Pie!”

  3. Randfigur says:

    Wow, the first instrument to actually play Trance. Really a neat invention. Not my style of music, though.

    I wonder if they have a virtual version of this.

  4. duder says:

    sweet. where can i buy that?

  5. VitaminCM says:

    It looks like the thing on Land of the Lost that the Sleestak guy would use to manipulate time and space.
    He never could get Marshal, Will, and Holly back home!

  6. technabob says:

    Holy crap. Somebody else out there still remembers what a Sleestak is. I don’t feel so ancient anymore.

    BTW, what were Sid and Marty Krofft smoking? I’d like some of it.

  7. Winslow Theramin says:

    Bill Laimbeer of the Detroit Pistons was a Sleestack:


    which wasn’t much of a stretch for him.

  8. CoolMuzzy says:

    Wow this is crazy! I want to buy one soo bad!
    Where can i buy one from if possible?

  9. inuma says:

    where can you buy that thing ?

  10. distrofg says:

    Definitely very cool, but i guess after a few weeks of trying all possible patterns from the booklet, the internet, and inventing my own, im gonna get back to my good old keyboard. :)

  11. jefferson hubbell says:

    booklet? Somebody is selling the thing if it’s got a booklet published. Who? Will they accept cash?

  12. dario says:

    Wow i MUST buy a thing like this!!! where can i find it? i really wanna buy it…

  13. Alex says:

    That’s actually not “radically new”. It even shares a portion of the same name as this device which came out years ago


    I don’t know if it’s the same designers or not but if it’s not, it’s kinda gay.

  14. John says:

    Seems very limited in what it can do, and unintuitive for musicians. Zero marketability.

  15. technabob says:

    For those of you complaining about this not being “new”, please note that I wrote this article back in September 2007.

  16. Joshua B says:

    You may want to check out elysium (http://lucidmac.com/products/elysium/) it’s an osx sequencer based on reactogon

  17. Brian says:

    This looks pretty cool. It’s a great new interaction mechanism.

    However, in terms of music, it’s a huge step backwards. Why do new electronic music systems always have to sound like a late-1980’s personal computer? It’s not like it’s *that* hard to produce the sound of a jazz quintet or string quartet or some other actual kind of music.

    So color me a bit suspicious that this is more of an awesome visual show than it is useful for making good music. But it is a pretty cool visual show. :-)

  18. TechBender says:

    The sound palette is purely a matter of aestetics; it’s just the sort of sound you would naturally associate with this kind of computerized.

    The sound produced could be anything once mapped appropriately.

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