May 30, 2019

iPad, Audio and MIDI

iPad Audio Setup

Lately I’ve been having fun playing around with audio apps on the iPad. There has been a lot of development in this area, so there are plenty of synths, sequencers and audio effects available to play around with, and for a fraction of the price of hardware equipment, and also cheaper that software available for the Mac.

Up to now connectivity has been an issue. I have an external audio interface and a couple of MIDI keyboards, and wanted to hook them up to the iPad. First I thought I would need a new dedicated audio/MIDI interface since my iPad only has a single Lightning port, but then I started thinking.

By using the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter I get a USB port for the iPad (as well as a pass-through Lightning port for charging).

It is possible to connect a USB Hub to the USB port. In my shelf I already had a powered USB hub that I could use. I could then connect my audio interface to this hub.

I tried this, and lo and behold, the iPad recognized it immediately. Some of the MIDI keyboards could be connected directly to the hub with USB cables, which would work, but I also had a RK-005 USB Host laying about. This is a nifty piece of gear that is able to merge signals from multiple connected USB controllers. This makes the signals easier to handle on the iPad side, as the MIDI appears to come from a single connected device instead of from various different sources. By connecting a second USB-hub to the RK-005, I could connect all my devices to it.

Granted, there are a few wires to keep track of, but it is nice to have everything connected to, and working with, the iPad, especially since I already had all the gear I needed to get it running in the first place.

If you are starting from scratch, a solution like the iRig Pro I/O from IK Multimedia seems to be a nice option as well. It also provides audio, MIDI, and with the optional power supply also charges the iPad while in use. This was the solution I had planned to purchase before realising I already had everything I needed to set up the system.

May 30, 2019

The Raytracer Challenge

Green Sphere

I am having a lot of fun working through the book The Raytracer Challenge. Basically it is a course on Test Driven Development made fun. Armed with a series of tests, we eventually end up with a ray tracing renderer of 3D scenes.

The book is language agnostic, and I am currently developing solutions using C++ and Kotlin. Like I said, it’s a lot of fun, and the book is highly recommended.

The green sphere in the image above was the first rendering from my code after implementing Lights and material effects.

May 27, 2019

DIY Chair

Enzo Mari - Sedia

In June I will attend a workshop to build a chair designed by the italian designer Enzo Mari. In 1974 he published the first edition of Autoprogettazione, a manual which includes a number of furniture projects that can be made by anyone with access to hammer, nails and wooden boards.

I downloaded a PDF-version of the book a long time ago, but never got round to realize any of the projects. I am looking forward to trying it out.

To know more about Enzo Mari and his thoughts you can watch this interview.

The workshop will be held at the Oficina Criativa in Lisbon on June 29 2019.