Bitty is a fun ass sound toy.
And fun feels good.
I love sound, and sound art, and music gear. And playing music out loud with other people is really fun. And there are portable instruments, like a ukelele, that are nice and small. So I wanted to make a pocket electronic music device that was like that, but could make all sorts of sounds. One that is easy to get into, and still enough of an instrument that one could play it on purpose.
I've had some thoughts lately about why musicians seem to stay so youthful. And I think it has to do with the word "play." It's special to me that one "plays" music. And if you watch kids do something, they're totally in the moment, they try this and that with complete abandon. Then we get older, and play becomes a trivial thing while we go on doing “serious” things, like go to work or whatever. And stop ourselves with thoughts like “am I doing this right?”
There are tons of instruments, both acoustic and electronic, and most have a pretty steep learning curve. "What am I supposed to do here?!" Bitty doesn't require lessons, or a manual, or anything like that. And if you're already a musician, it has enough depth to let you play it like a real instrument. So when I say "toy," I mean it in the most serious sense, something you can really play :)
People with it
You know people are having fun when they’re making faces.
What Does it Do?
As of this writing, there is software to play beats. Software for melodies. And a crazy noise patch. The Kickstarter has more info.
At the core, it’s an Arduino-compatible device (means you can fiddle with the software if you dare).
It’s battery powered, and has a speaker. So you can put it in your pocket and take it anywhere. If you’re in the studio, it will run off USB and plug into an amp, etc.
If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line!
Also, sign up for that list above. I send out regular developments and other fun stuff.
Here’s a crazy idea. My friend Jim Wagner walked into my studio and said “what if you build a giant Bitty… with a trampoline?”
I thought he was a genius and I went and built it. Here’s the result at Aeronaut Brewing Company, a local brewery.
It’s a mega recreation of the little one, in fact it’s powered directly by an itty Bitty. The cushy stomp buttons plug right into the tiny Bitty in the heart of it, and the trampoline has a stretch sensor that acts as the right knob.
It also happens that my friend Dan and I built a chair knob, which didn’t make it into this show (it needs some experiments so the chair and trampoline don’t compete). You can see the fabulous knob here.