Leveraging Android Phones to Democratize Low-level Audio Programming

Carla Tapparo, Brooke Chalmers, and Victor Zappi

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Location: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Track: Papers
  • Pages: 288–294
  • Article Number: 41
  • PDF link

Abstract:

In this work we introduce LDSP, a novel technology capable of turning any Android phone into a high-performance embedded platform for digital musical instrument (DMI) design. Embedded platforms are powerful technologies that changed the way we design and even think of DMIs. Their widespread adoption has popularized low-level audio programming, enabling engineers and artists alike to create highly responsive, self-contained digital musical instruments that have direct access to hardware resources. However, if we shift our focus away from the wealthy countries of the `Global North', embedded platforms become a commodity that only a few can afford. DMI researchers, artists and students from Latin America have discussed at great lengths the effects that the lack of access to these otherwise common resources have on their practices. And while some solutions have been proposed, a large gap can still be perceived. By means of appropriating possibly the most widespread and accessible technology in the world (Android) and turn it into an embedded platform, LDSP creates an effective opportunity to close this gap. Throughout the paper, we provide technical details of the full LDSP environment, along with insights on the surprising performances of the first DMIs that have been designed with it.

Citation:

Carla Tapparo, Brooke Chalmers, and Victor Zappi. 2023. Leveraging Android Phones to Democratize Low-level Audio Programming. Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime2023_41,
 abstract = {In this work we introduce LDSP, a novel technology capable of turning any Android phone into a high-performance embedded platform for digital musical instrument (DMI) design. Embedded platforms are powerful technologies that changed the way we design and even think of DMIs. Their widespread adoption has popularized low-level audio programming, enabling engineers and artists alike to create highly responsive, self-contained digital musical instruments that have direct access to hardware resources. However, if we shift our focus away from the wealthy countries of the `Global North', embedded platforms become a commodity that only a few can afford. DMI researchers, artists and students from Latin America have discussed at great lengths the effects that the lack of access to these otherwise common resources have on their practices. And while some solutions have been proposed, a large gap can still be perceived. By means of appropriating possibly the most widespread and accessible technology in the world (Android) and turn it into an embedded platform, LDSP creates an effective opportunity to close this gap. Throughout the paper, we provide technical details of the full LDSP environment, along with insights on the surprising performances of the first DMIs that have been designed with it.},
 address = {Mexico City, Mexico},
 articleno = {41},
 author = {Carla Tapparo and Brooke Chalmers and Victor Zappi},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression},
 editor = {Miguel Ortiz and Adnan Marquez-Borbon},
 issn = {2220-4806},
 month = {May},
 numpages = {7},
 pages = {288--294},
 title = {Leveraging Android Phones to Democratize Low-level Audio Programming},
 track = {Papers},
 url = {http://nime.org/proceedings/2023/nime2023_41.pdf},
 year = {2023}
}