What is a Reactable?
The music industry is known for its groundbreaking forays into technology and modernization, but no one could have predicted the Reactable. The Reactable is a revolutionary collaborative instrument composed of a round, translucent table that is usually situated in a dark room. The table is lit up, and blocks called "tangibles" are placed on the table by performers. The tangibles represent different modules of a synthesizer (such as sequencers and VCOs). Performers then manipulate the tangibles on the Reactable to create a custom digital song. As the tangibles move, they create motions and light movements on the table, making the Reactable both an instrument and visual display.
Who Invented the Reactable?
The Reactable was invented at Pompeu Fabra University, in conjunction with the Music Technology Group, in Barcelona, Spain. The team responsible for the invention was Sergi Jorda, Marcos Alonso, Martin Kaltenbrunner and Guenter Geiger. Since its conception, the Reactable has won much critical acclaim and has garnered its inventors many awards.
Use of the Reactable
Though fairly new and unexplored, the Reactable has seen exposure in the world.
The inventors will frequently attend concerts and festivals to give
performances on the Reactable. Reactables are even available to rent or buy so
that anyone may experience the unique instrument.
Perhaps the most well known usage of the Reactable was through Bjoerk's 2007 Volta world tour. Bjoerk used the Reactable in several of her songs from that album, and the response was incredibly positive. She first debuted her Reactable performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 27, 2007.
As music becomes more modern and musicians begin to look towards technology to create new sounds, the Reactable will become an even more prevalent instrument in the industry. The Reactable is so easy to master; it can even be used by inexperienced performers. The beauty of the Reactable is that there are limitless amounts of ways the instrument can be used.
Additional Reactable Resources
Reactable demo video
- a great demo video put together by the inventors of the Reactable
demonstrating how the instrument works.
Reactable performance video - an amazing performance of the Reactable in Berlin
Reactable Role Gaming (RRG) video - forward-thinking performers are using the Reactable to participate in Reactable Role Gaming, a type of virtual role-playing game
Reactable how-to - a guide to how the Reactable works
Interview - a great interview with the Reactable team
Reactable facts - an informative article that explains the history of the Reactable
Tangible User Interface - an explanation of a Tangible User Interface, which the Reactable uses to create sounds
Tangible Media Group - a group at MIT that explores the many facets of tangible media