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Glints of DJing in near future? Touch-screen DJing

By Damir Beciri
18 August 2010

dj-turntableAlthough DJ’s across the world strongly disagree with the idea that turntables and additional gear should become digitized in live performance, we’re going to describe a concept and a prototype DJ mixing tool that rely on touch-screen technology. Unlike the iPad and iPod solutions that are on the market, these 2 are yet to become more widely spread due to current prices of larger touch-screens and surfaces.

Designer Gerg Kaufman came up with an idea of a supremely slick touch-screen interface concept for his senior thesis project at the Kansas City Art Institute. The idea behind Multi Touch Light Table creation is that it could allow any traveling DJ to carry their entire equipment kit in a carry-on and use the songs on a touch-screen surface. Some of the problems that may occur can be related to versions of software available (regarding available features and design itself) or the limitations if the equipment vendors do limit available platforms for their gear.

The interface design is simple and relies on multi-touch and gestures. Unlike other concepts out there, this design is rather intuitive once you get a hang of its possibilities. Beat-matching, which can be really complex, can be accomplished by a couple taps with a single finger on the desired turntable. You can see other features as crossfading, effects and looping in the following video.

The working prototype is named Töken and it creates a new experience regarding the interaction between the audience and the DJ. Unfortunately, the Töken Experience site doesn’t offer too much information. It is mentioned that the prototype panel is a “platform with multi-touch technology”, and that it was created by Rodrigo Campos from Santiago, Chile, in hope to raise the status of “live performance” to the next level.

According to the video, it looks as a semi-transparent touch-screen with software made by Pablo Martin – Emulator software which is re-engineering a popular computer based DJing tool Traktor into a touch-screen interface. It looks like a simplified Traktor in full-screen (both options are very usable on smaller screens). The options are a bit “more traditional” looking and much more stacked compared to the compared to Multi Touch Light Table

Both of the previously described DJ mixing tools have something to offer, especially to new generations of DJ’s that aren’t used to knobs on the gear. They offer more portability and are a lot cheaper compared to the gear many DJ’s use, however, many professional DJ’s are used to play sets on their own gear and it is a question whether they will accept the growing number of touch-screen based DJ mixing tools.

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