HELP: real chess figures control rotation

Isti's picture

I am only at an advanced amateur level in QC.

I planning an art project where real chess figures should control which direction and by what values an object on screen should turn, behave. The idea is that each square should have different values, so let's say when a chess figure is put onto E4 then QC rotates object left by a certain amount.

Important: each 64 square has pre-programmed values and they are different form each other. Therefore chess players have to slowly learn these hidden "laws" and how their steps affect the the object on screen.

Each square has 4 states: 1. empty 2. full 3. changing from empty to full 4. changing from full to empty

A) I am only interested in the 3rd possibility, that is the only time when change should happen on screen.

B) I am COMPLETELY new to MIDI devices, so any help would be great how to solve this. What devices are out there that could help? I have never connected a MIDI to a Mac, how does that work, do you need a special card..?

The initial ideas that could trigger the change on screen are:

  • by weight
  • the each square would work as key, almost as a piano key, squares could be pushed in slightly when there is a figure on them
  • some magnets on the bottom
  • A WACOM digital tablet turned into a chess field, and one Digital Pen hidden in one of the figures: in this case, I could only have one Figure affecting the game so it is not the nicest solution
  • tiny wholes with some sensors on each square?

C) I am open for ANY ideas and help.

( D - If I cannot solve this, I might be able to take someone on board into this project for solving the whole MIDI / electronics / mechanical part for an acceptable fee. For information on that please write: )


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M.Oostrik's picture
Re: HELP: real chess figures control rotation

Some answers to B)

Midi in Quartz composer is quite straight forward

This is a nice Midi to USB interface (works out of the box):

Hook it up to your midi device and use it together with the Midi controller (note) receiver patch and it's learn to observe function.

This: is a nice tool to see what is going on with your midi

you might check if you midi device is present with the OSX's Audio MIDI Setup (applications > utilities) When you start the program go to Window > Show MIDI window.

gtoledo3's picture
Re: HELP: real chess figures control rotation

I think the hardware can somewhat defined by the amount of money you have in budget, and if the hardware is suitable to your specific needs.

There might not be midi controllers with the amount of "squares" you're looking for, and fabricating something from scratch with triggers may be overkill (?). Then you would also need to have a trigger to midi converter, which is probably around $300-400 (haven't looked in a long time).

If you use a prefabricated midi controller, you just need to make sure it's usb or firewire compatible, and that it's compatible with your computer.

The wacom route isn't "crazy", because one can track x/y with high resolution, which can let one map out the different things the squares are supposed to "make happen". If you were to cleverly put a pen in an object, the way you describe, you might also be able to control the extra pen buttons, which might be handy.