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Wireless MIDI on your iPhone: Open Source Motion Control Talks to Nintendo DS & any Computer

February 25, 2009

The Cupertino-Mushroom Kingdom gap has been closed: you can now mix and match DS and iPhone/iPod touch for wireless control of music and visuals. DSMI, the homebrew library that has enabled wireless and serial MIDI connections from the Nintendo DS, has come to iPod touch and iPhone. That means anyone building instruments and controllers on the iThing can now add wireless MIDI controllers that talk to computers – or other mobile devices, including the DS. It also means that DSMI’s acronym standing for “Nintendo DS Music Interface” has only one word that describes all the things it does.

If you’re a developer, you can grab the open source (LGPL-licensed) code. If you’re a user, apps are already supporting the new wireless features. There’s MIDI Motion Machine, which provides tilt and 16 triggers, and iXY, a 99-cent app for KAOSS Pad-style X/Y touch control. The MIDI Motion Machine author, TheRain, takes an interesting approach: there’s both a free and pay version, and the free version has source code.

iXY has one of the cleverest interfaces I’ve seen yet for something as simple as the trusted X/Y pad controller. Who says there isn’t still some room to refine interfaces?

Tobias Weyand, DSMI’s original co-creator along with TheRain, writes:

My friend TheRain has ported DSMI to the iPhone! This enables iPhone deveopers to easily integrate wireless MIDI in their applications, making it possible to control any MIDI application on the PC with the iPhone. The Wifi-to-MIDI bridge is the same DSMI server application that is also used for the DS, thus it works with Windows, OSX and Linux.
Also, like on the DS, both OSC and MIDI are supported!

DSMI for iPhone is available from our Google Code site (http://code.google.com/p/dsmi/) together with an open source example application called MIDI Motion Machine that is a tilt-based xy-controller.

The cool thing is that this library takes away all the hassle of communicating MIDI messages to the PC and makes development of MIDI controllers very very simple. So, we hope that people will use the DSMI to create a lot of innovative iPhone MIDI controller apps.

Pretty cool, isn’t it? :-)

By the way, if you’re a loyal Nintendo DS developer and think this whole iNonense thing is useless, the main library for DS also got a lot of improvements, cleaner coding, and collaboration on Google Code.

What about using OpenSoundControl instead of MIDI? On the iPhone/iPod, it’s a non-issue: OSC is a networking protocol, so it’s already wireless-ready. On the DS, DSMI’s source includes an OSC example, and unlike the MIDI in DSMI, you don’t need a piece of software receiving on the computer end.

Now, any suggestions for how to broaden the acronym DSMI so it’s more accurate? Digital Signal Multimodal Interface? Digital Sound and Music Interface? Damned Sweet Machine Instrument?

Or, to go recursive: DSMI Sure Means Ideas.

DSMI Official Site
CM Software Designs (home of iXY, MIDI Motion Machine, more apps and tutorials – must-visit)
DSMI at Google Code

By Peter Kirn

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One comment

  1. Hello, just wanted to mention, I loved this post.
    It was helpful. Keep on posting!



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