BlipBox Getting Started

The BlipBox can be used in conjunction with a computer in USB mode, or in stand-alone mode as a MIDI controller.

Stand-alone mode

First of all, orient the BlipBox in landscape mode with the sockets on the right side.

When the BlipBox powers up, it will by default be in USB mode.

You can bring up the preset menu at any time by double tapping (double clicking with your finger) in the bottom left corner of the screen. You can choose a preset number by swiping or dragging your finger left or right.

Note: for best performance we recommend that you use something hard but not sharp to press on the BlipBox touchscreen, such as the back of your finger rather than your fingertip. Very little pressure is then required.

The left-most preset is designated  by the letter U instead of a number. This stands for USB mode, which is meant for two-way communication with a computer over USB.

The stand-alone MIDI modes are numbered from 1 to 8.

To choose a preset, double tap again in the bottom left corner.

Now you can activate the different zones of the preset by touching the screen.

USB Mode

In order for your computer to communicate with the BlipBox you may first need to install the required USB drivers. If you have used an Arduino or Monome then you will probably have the drivers installed already. Otherwise:

  • On Windows Vista, the device should be recognised by the operating system and the drivers automatically installed
  • On Linux, the drivers are included in kernel 2.6.31 and later
  • On Mac OS X, the drivers should be manually installed. Mount the FTDIUSBSerialDriver_v2_2_16.dmg disk image and run the included FTDIUSBSerialDriver.pkg

The latest version of the drivers are available from the FTDI website.

When connected over USB, external power is not required.

You can switch the BlipBox power source by sliding the switch in between the connectors to either USB or external DC power. You may be helped by a paper clip or other proddler to achieve this.

When USB or external power is plugged in, the screen should flash once to indicate that the device is on.

With the USB connection the device can communicate directly with a suitable application on your computer. Supported applications at the moment include BlipZones and Processing.

Using BlipZones

BlipZones is an application which lets you configure your own MIDI presets. The application also allows you to use the BlipBox directly as a MIDI controller on your computer, without requiring an external MIDI interface.

For download details and instructions, please see the BlipZones documentation.

Using Processing

Install Processing from processing.org.

Download HelloBlip.zip, unzip, and open the file HelloBlip.pde in Processing.

Making sure first that the BlipBox is connected and the FTDI drivers are installed, go to Sketch / Run.

The BlipBox should now display a scrolling text.

The connection to the BlipBox is created with the line:

blipbox = new ProcessingBlipBox(this, 0);

The digit 0 indicates which serial port to use, if you have problems connecting try changing this to 1 or 2.

The libraries required to communicate with the BlipBox are contained in the folder HelloBlip/code. You can create your own, BlipBox enabled sketches by saving the HelloBlip sketch under a different name (save as).

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