The reactable is a collaborative electronic music instrument with a tabletop tangible multi-touch interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete control over the instrument by moving and rotating physical objects on a luminous round table surface. By moving and relating these objects, representing components of a classic modular synthesizer, users can create complex and dynamic sonic topologies, with generators, filters and modulators, in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language.
The reactable hardware is based on a translucent, round multi-touch surface. A camera situated beneath the table, continuously analyzes the surface, tracking the player's finger tips and the nature, position and orientation of physical objects that are distributed on its surface. These objects represent the components of a classic modular synthesizer, the players interact by moving these objects, changing their distance, orientation and the relation to each other. These actions directly control the topological structure and parameters of the sound synthesizer. A projector, also from underneath the table, draws dynamic animations on its surface, providing a visual feedback of the state, the activity and the main characteristics of the sounds produced by the audio synthesizer.
At the 2008 MIDEM conference the reactable was presented as the winner of the "Hottest Music Biz Start-Up Award". At this occasion Dr. Sergi Jorda (director of the project) announced that before the end of 2008 a newly formed start-up company plans to deliver the award winning musical instrument to the market. The synthesizer with its revolutionary multi-touch interface is currently being used by the Icelandic singer Bjork as a key instrument of her "Volta" world tour and now will become available to all potential customers such as professional musicians, sound studios and other music related businesses.