Solar Modulator: let there be light-based MIDI control

MIDI messages can be sent in all manner of different ways, and now we have another option courtesy of Benjamin Olson's MIDI Modulator. This Mac app works in conjunction with your computer's camera, and enables you to shape sounds in real-time using light and motion.

In practice, this means that generating data can be as easy as moving your hand towards the camera (blocking the light), but you can also get more creative and (for example) use a remote control's infrared pulses to create glitch effects.

This isn't a plugin - it operates like an external MIDI device - but should work with any Mac app that accepts MIDI input.

Supported MIDI parameters are:

  • Modulation/Mod Wheel
  • Pitch Bend
  • Pressure/Mono Aftertouch
  • Sustain/Soft Pedal
  • General purpose MIDI CC controls for mapping to DAW controls

You can download Solar Modulator for free on the Mac App Store, though you'll have to pay $3.99 if you want to upgrade to the fully-featured Pro version. Check it out in the video above.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.