A dynamically simple MIDI controller.


halo is a MIDI controller derived from the needs of next generation musicians.

Physically Speaking Digital

A MIDI controller is a physical device that controls a virtual instrument. Without the connection, it does not make any sound on its own.

Controllers come in the form of keyboards, drumpads, knobs, sliders, or a mix between them.

Over the years, keyboards, drumpads, and even sliders have been redesigned or reimagined for better playability, expression, or portability.

What about knobs?

No matter how pretty they've been re-packaged, knobs have pretty much remained the same in form, use, as well as their problems.

High Break Point
Protruding from a controller, knobs often get snapped off during transport.

Poor I/O Ratio
Parameters typically span 127 levels of change, which can be hard to control with smaller knobs.

Too many, never enough.
Different use cases require different amounts of control. Sometimes there're just too many.
An Emotionless Instrument

Above all, knobs are locked into cold, emotionless boxes. And yet, they are essential to artists for creating dynamic-sounding compositions.

Like any other musical instrument, a MIDI knob should also possess expressive qualities.

Taking a step back and asking 'what else could a knob be' -- I looked to analogous products that share similar key interactions as well as textures and forms that convey expressive, rotational movement.

Overall form and user interaction exploration.

Inviting, Robust, and Simple

Between overall form, interaction, as well as user touch points, I explored ways for the device to be inviting to the user, robust to carry, and simple to use.

Grip texture study.

Rapid prototyping form, texture, and movement.

Simple UX

Interaction methods.

halo has two methods of interaction: rotating the dial to adjust parameters, and swiping left or right in the infrared-sensing void to navigate across parameter sets.

halo's downward facing IR sensor for swipe gestures.

Connecting halo

halo connects to your favorite audio workstation via Bluetooth. Once connected, halo's MIDI pairing works just like any other controller.

Dedicated UI

halo has its own UI -- not only keeping all set parameters nicely organized and easy to edit, but also streamlines the user experience across any and all audio workstations.

halo connected to Ableton Live.

Control More, or Less

With the ability to assign three different parameters to one dial rotation, halo lets the user to get more dynamic changes when needed.
*Demo has audio.

halo controlling 3 parameters simultaneously.

Let's Play!

halo's small footprint combined with its high user customization allows for the perfect companion device to any musician's work environment, whether it's at home or on the go.

halo used with Teenage Engineering's OP-1 Synth

Fall 2015, Georgia Institute of Technology