Electronic instrument design tends to be all about interface: since we can generate arbitrary signals in software, the question becomes how we shape the signal given our human minds and bodies. How do we transfer and explore our musical intent from mind to instrument?
The Collidoscope is a prototype “double granular synthesizer” by Fiore Martin and Ben Bengler of the Queen Mary of London Centre for Digital Music. Right off the bat you notice the two long screens (cleverly implied by putting a bezel over one big ordinary screen) displaying waveforms. A combination slider and knob (brilliant!) allows you to specify the start and end regions of the waveform, which then is played back at different speeds when you hit keys on the integrated keyboards.
It’s an intriguing combination of several things you don’t see often: a multi-player instrument, realtime visualization, and granular synthesis. I’d love to see more examples of the unique compositional affordances it offers!