Max boards

    Feb 20 2006 | 5:40 pm
    A friend of mine has just finished a series of boards, which I think could be useful to many of Max users, so I'd like to let you all know about it : it's called BlueSense.
    Those boards (wireless) can be used for sensors reading, switch, etc... see description : ation
    Those boards are Specially made for Max Interfaces building (they made objects for it!) : P?bmelon_wiki_wiki__session=e2af5926e3146792e0d32dffc5fb83a9
    All the best,
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    • Feb 20 2006 | 6:04 pm
      Those look pretty but boy are they expensive. You can get an Arduino board for much cheaper. A 10-pack only costs $180 Euro and a single board is $20 Euro.
    • Feb 20 2006 | 6:16 pm
      Arduino are cool also but they are not Wireless or Usb... which make a big difference... if you need a serial to USB cable it will cost you more... so the prices are lower ;-) Check carefully the datasheets... I'm not objective since the are my friends, but I think they are the best on the market!!
    • Feb 20 2006 | 7:07 pm
      True, But you can always slap on a bluetooth serial module from Sparkfun ( id=149). Also, the USB/serial thing is also an issue sometimes as you point out.
    • Feb 20 2006 | 8:17 pm
      Sorry for the stupid question maybe, but I've never used sensors and boards like these yet. The boards seem to have a usb plug, don't they ? board=faq;action=display;num=1139161553
      Why a serial to usb cable is needed ? There's something I can't get it seems.
    • Feb 20 2006 | 8:35 pm
      Actually, you're right. They don't need a serial-to-USB plug. The main page shows a serial version, but if you look further ( ) the new versions have a built in serial-to-USB converter based on the FTDI converter chips.
    • Feb 20 2006 | 9:19 pm
      Wesley Smith wrote: > Those look pretty but boy are they expensive. You can get an Arduino > board for much cheaper. A 10-pack only costs $180 Euro and a single > board is $20 Euro.
      But its not wireless, and the BlueSense is not Bluetooth. And thats what we want, standardised wireless sensors. Is there something like Arduino with Bluetooth or better WLAN and OSC?
      My powerbook could immediatly listen to such a beast.
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    • Feb 20 2006 | 9:49 pm
      That's true I also just find about that... ok they are nice boards too... but There are no output drivers or input protections so when switching for example a relay you would have to add your own transistor. When reading switches you would need additional filters. In case of reading rotaries you would have to write your own code for the micro.
      In my opinion the Arduino is more for hobbyist/do-it-yourself than plug it in and do what you really want to do. And BlueSense is all about plug it in and focus on your creative side using Max.
      And again its my non-objective opinion... ;-)
    • Feb 20 2006 | 10:27 pm
      Lourens from BlueMelon told me that for BlueSense they already made an ethernet (tcp/ip) version which also supports WiFi connection. So instead of USB you simply connect it using UTP or WiFi to an existing network and then interface from Max.
      The board will come online soon.
    • Feb 21 2006 | 9:42 am
      Dear all,
      I am one of the developers of BlueSense. Clearly there are some other products out there which each have there own advantages/disadvantages.
      When you compare BlueSense with Arduino you are comparing apples and oranges. It would be better to compare BlueSense with Teleo. So what's the difference between BlueSense and Arduino?
      Arduino is a programming platform. You can write your own software, ofcourse this can be seen as an advantage but it is also a problem when you are not a skilled programmer. Although the 'wiring' programming language seems like processing, it is actually more similar to the "C language" which is quit a difficult programming language for beginners.
      When we developed the software for the atmels on our board we had to take special consideration to get the maximum speed out of them. (Some parts in assembler). When you use the provided arduino "wiring" language you will certainly have speed issues in some cases.
      We programmed intelligence into the board, this means that you can add eg. a rotary encoder or a counter without writing any code in max. You would still have to do this in the Arduino board. Again if you focussing on art, maybe you don't want to focus on writing lots of software.
    • Feb 21 2006 | 9:54 am
      >Wesley Smith wrote: >> Those look pretty but boy are they expensive. You can get an >Arduino >> board for much cheaper. A 10-pack only costs $180 Euro and a >single >> board is $20 Euro.
      >But its not wireless, and the BlueSense is not Bluetooth. And >thats what >we want, standardised wireless sensors. >Is there something like Arduino with Bluetooth or better WLAN and >OSC? >My powerbook could immediatly listen to such a beast. >Stefan
      Dear Stefan,
      Ofcourse a standardised wireless specification would be great. But bluetooth has some severe problems:
      BlueTooth was meant for non realtime point-to-point communication. This means that there's latency involved and that your computer must specifically connect with a certain bluetooth device. This is done via text identifiers. For a simple processor communication via bluetooth is quit a intensive task, and as such it will have a negative influence on the speed/responsiveness. Speed and especially responsiveness are essential aspects for artists!
      Even usb communication inherently incurs a latency of at least 1ms! BlueSense is wireless. You can plugin a wireless board to your usb. Then you can connect as many wireless transmitters/receivers as you want. Each of transmitters/receivers can connect an arbitrary number of sensor modules.
      If you take this into account, arduino is nice board but it has quite different uses from BlueSense. Look at the price of some Teleo modules, those are not as low as Arduino either.
    • Feb 22 2006 | 8:58 am
      Thanks for the useful info about the limitations of bluetooth. Does this mean that it would be impossible to have a network of bluetooth modules?
      Btw,a bluetooth version of arduino is soon ready for release.
      best, hc
    • Feb 22 2006 | 10:20 am
      To be certain I just checked some specs of a bluetooth serial converters. Actually this is the same sort of technology as the USB serial converters use, only now wireless over BlueTooth
      BlueTooth is optimized for sending/receiving large chunks of data (eg. phone data communication, images, mp3 ringtones). In realtime performance sensor technology most of the time very small amounts of data are sent. BlueTooth incurs a latency of 15ms-45ms.
      The latency is the minimum time it will take for your computer to communicate with the BlueTooth device (one way trip). In some cases the BlueTooth device will also have to respond back to the computer. So for the two way trip you will have twice the latency (30-90ms).
      See this faq about serial communication over BlueTooth: rt_adapter_gen2_faq_1_0.pdf (company not related to us).
      With our BlueSense devices the usb/software under max incurs a latency of 2 ms (for multiple connected devices). The wireless communication itself has a latency of about 1 ms. We found out that is was not so easy to get good perfomance!
      regards, Dinne Bosman
    • Feb 22 2006 | 2:03 pm
      is there a driver for OS X coming up? would be interesting! or does the wireless work directly with OSC?
      bests, jens
      jens doering:::::::::: 2av - media art::::: ::::::::::::::::::: jerry lusion:::::::::::: e.stonji:::::::::::::::::: hp.stonji:::::::::::::::: e:gum::::::::::::::::::::
    • Feb 22 2006 | 3:02 pm
      The OSX drivers are currently in beta testing.
      Dinne Bosman
    • Feb 23 2006 | 2:32 pm
      There seems to be a lot of talk about physical computing components on these boards, and I find that really interesting - if a bit undersupported by Cycling74.
      The Bluesense products do look good, and comparing them to Teleo rather than Arduino seems to be the right approach. In their favour, they are cheaper than Teleo boards, and have the option of going wireless (without messing around with RF). What Arduino does have going for it, which is relatively rare in this field, is the ability to be used as a standalone device.
      That's not to put down the Bluesense product - the addition of wireless is a really good idea, and I think it will be a major selling point for some interested parties. I would advise making drivers for OSX, to increase market share.
    • Feb 26 2006 | 12:06 pm
      I'm thinking about buying a board like these to better see how to work with sensors. Since I don't need such for a particular project right now, I think that a board like ones sold by Arduino should be enough (sorry, don't want to hijack the thread, but while we're at it, I thought I could take the opportunity to ask few things...) there are *at least* two things I'm not sure about.
      1/ When using these boards, I have to make the program for the board (for ones like BlueSense or Arduino) ?
      2/ I'm not sure I get how to read the data inside Max. One can find some Max objects for some specific boards (such as the BlueSense one, it seems), but if not, one has to read the data via [serial] object or [hi] object. Am I right ? For exemple, USB-boards by Arduino can not be read by [serial], can they ? So is the [hi] object the way to go ?
      Thanks in advance anyone for confirmation.
    • Feb 26 2006 | 2:15 pm
      Hi Julien;
      1 - This question is a bit unclear... perhaps you are refering to the fact that you have to program the Arduino boards to have the functionality you want. Bluesense/Teleo (and other high-end boards) are already defined, and do not require you to reprogram the chips on the board.
      2 - There is a max/processing object that would probably be the right thing for getting Arduino cards to talk to max. I don't think hi would work, but I'm not sure...
    • Feb 26 2006 | 3:06 pm
      Thanks for answering.
      My question was unclear for me as well... But, you answered it. I get the difference now between BlueSense and Arduino boards for example (at least, this difference).
      Concerning, the board to Max thing, unless someone tell me how does he proceeds to get board info inside Max, I'll ask on the Arduino forum.
      Anyway, thank you. Now I can think a bit more precisely about which solution would be better for me.
    • Feb 26 2006 | 3:07 pm
      There is a max/msp to Arduino via serial example at
    • Mar 05 2006 | 8:04 pm
      Hello everybody,
      We have just released the Mac osx drivers for our BlueSense network products! So you can use Max/MSP on windows and Mac OSX. Now you can easily use rotary encoders, temperature sensors, counters, etc.
      Other possibilities include Processing (Windows, Linux, Mac OSX), Java and (for die hards) C. Furthermore we have setup a small contest on the website. Have a look.
      thanks, Dinne Bosman