This is a video of a performance using The Reactable in Turin, Italy, 2009.
The Reactable is an electronic instrument created in 2003 by a research team in Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. The system has an interactive interface, where players can place and move objects. These objects, when placed on the interface and connected to other objects, play different sounds. The instrument utilizes the various sound waves and synthesizers connected to the objects to display the sounds on the interface. By moving and reconnecting different objects together, players can create unique compositions of various sounds. While I’m not sure specifically what algorithms the researchers used, I understand they utilized samples and soundbites and programmed physical objects to be able to interact with and produce those sounds.
This product is especially cool because it is a new instrument. You can use it to create songs or sound effects, and the multi-purpose aspects of it make it really accessible and fun. I love how it is first-and-foremost designed to entertain, and how user-focused it is. Not only does it feature an interesting set of sounds and controls, it utilizes those sounds to create a visual composition upon the interface.
Fun Fact: Icelandic musician Björk incorporated this instrument into her world tour performances in 2008-2009.