Every so often at OSSIC we like to highlight a segment of our community that is focused on changing the way we hear the world around us. Recently we had the pleasure to sit down with Joep le Blanc from OWOW to discuss their unique MIDI instruments and 3D audio. OWOW, or the the Omnipresent World Of Wizkids, is a company highly active in the music industry with a strong focus on music, design and technology.
Q: What is OWOW and what is its goal?
"Owow = Omnipresent World of Wizkids, The company started when CEO (Pieter-Jan Pieters) did his graduation project at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. That project resulted in the first version of the instruments you can see on our website. The origin of the name is actually kind of our vision on the world of design, as well as our vision on the world in general. There are a lot of wiz kids around, and you just have to find them and collaborate with them. You guys [OSSIC] are doing something really cool as well!"
Q: What do you do at OWOW?
"I am a Concept and project engineer, so I develop and create new concepts and technological prototypes. We have a small team, 4 or 5 guys, and everyone has their own special area of expertise, it’s really a lot of fun. One day I’ll be a concept and project engineer and another day I’ll take care of logistics or shipping."
"Well we actually had a discussion on whether or not they were instruments or controllers today! Well they are actually controllers, but because they rely on a users movement it’s quite different and refreshing. Let's just call them MIDI instruments for now. With the Drum and Wiggle for instance, users can set and customize four different axis of input on the device and we spent a lot of time finetuning the factory preset in terms of velocity sensitivity. That is what makes MIDI an amazing thing: the user can customize their experience. Here’s the air drumstick or 'Drum' as we call it, which allows you to drum in the air. A lot of people are trying out a lot of different things with each of the midis, it's a lot of fun to see what people do with it."
Q: What came first: Developing the concept for a midi controller, or working on projects as a creative team?
"The thought of the instruments came first, and that vision is what created the company. One of our early ideas was a midi controller that could read your heart rate and apply a drum loop based on your heart’s BPM."
Q: Do you have advice for developers just starting out ?
"Creating your own devices or set of devices is a lot of fun. It takes a long time but it is a lot of fun. Just keep on doing what you think is cool, but definitely keep your eye on new development and incorporate aspects of those new developments into your plans. For instance, for our first device we thought we would have to be plugged in with a cable, but we later discovered a midi over bluetooth format that we then incorporated into the product. If we had become aware of those developments during an earlier stage of creating the products we could have implemented that technology sooner."
Q: What excites you about the OSSIC X project ?
"Basically I have been checking out the ossic updates every once in awhile and following along on the website as well. We were thinking that because we have a midi device that allows you to throw sounds around you head, so we thought how cool would it be to create a piece of software that would allow you use the controller to make sounds in 360 degrees of space and hear them with the OSSIC X."
Thanks to Joep and the OWOW team highlighting some of the ways they are changing the way we experience reality. OSSIC loves to hear about the coolest projects around the audio world! If you are a creator and want to have your project featured on the OSSIC blog head over to our creator portal today!
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