Beat Blocks is a tangible interface for a rhythm sequencer. The user is able to create and manipulate an 8-track drum loop (4 tracks in the featured prototype) on the fly by physically re-arranging blocks within a matrix. Each block is actually a sub-sequence identified by a patterning scheme. This allows the user to quickly identify what the sub-sequence is and place it within the composition in one motion, an action that would otherwise take several steps with a screen and mouse/trackpad interface. The device can be integrated directly and synchronized with other midi hardware or communicate with a computer via midi.
Two versions of Beat Blocks are in the works. The first being a sequencer for use in a performance setup and the second being an installation based around a table design. The performance device will be much more compact, utilizing a 4 x 4 or 8 x 8 matrix, and the installation version will be designed around an 8 x 16 or 32 matrix with a more spacious layout to accommodate multiple users. It was designed and built by Jeff Hoefs, Stijn Schiffeleers and Greg Zifcak.
Here's a quick little video demonstration. This one only has 4 tracks but its a prototype. It all seems very easy :)