Proposed Systems


Here is a breakdown of core system components and their prices. The goal is to have a core system that can handle the majority of the intended ideas, so that the system can be purchased and created in bulk. This also simplifies the individual implementations by unifying the mediums for all projects to only one architecture.


First System


  • Make Controller Kit
    • $109 each (~$99 with student discount)
    • Can directly interact with Max/MSP, and expansions, while connected to a computer. Has a couple of standard inputs (USB, Ethernet), as well as some other less common, but still useful connections. These are SPI, (I2C), JTAG, and CAN.
    • Also has various generic pins that can be used for a variety of sensors and actuators.
    • 55Mhz processor, 64kB SRAM, 256kB flash storage.
    • Can be programmed for standalone operation.


  • Max/MSP/Jitter
    • $850 for the bundle, $395 for just Jitter if we have Max/MSP
    • $450 for the bundle, $200 for just Jitter. These are the student prices. Limit of one copy, and current student ID card required. There is also a 9 month license of the full bundle for $59 for students, not renewable for another 9 month license, but get a discount ($39) off of the purchase price of the full unlimited software.
    • Max is the base software / programing interface. MSP adds to Max a set of audio and signal processing blocks. Jitter adds components for video processing, but these blocks can also be used to process nearly any type of data.
    • Can directly interface with the Make Controller.
    • Platform independent. Software available for Mac and Windows.
    • Concern with Jitter, site recommends / requires: Mac OS X or Win XP, 256MB RAM, 1GHz processor, graphics card. It is unclear how well Max programs that use Jitter blocks will run on the Make Controller.
      • Jitter supports multi-core processing. It might be possible to use the CAN feature of the Make Controllers to network multiple devices together and distribute the Jitter processing between all networked controllers. This depends on how Jitter manages multi-core processing.
    • Software might not need to be purchased if we already have Max/MSP/Jitter available. In this case, programming of the Make Controller will need to be done here.

Other Comments:
If the Make Controllers would be required to operate as standalone devices, Max might not be an option to use unless Max Patches can be compiled, or otherwise converted into standalone code that does not need Max in order to run. This format would also need to be one which the Make Controller can use. Firmware and programming for use on the standalone controller and board is written in C, with some additions for the hardware interfacing.

Cost of System Conditions and Included Components
Hardware Only
$93 Student Discount (10%) and Quantity Discount (5%)
$104 Quantity Discount (5%)
$109 No Discounts
Hardware (no Discounts) and Software
$168 ($109 + $59) Student 9-month license of Max bundle
$559 ($109 + $450) Permanent Student license of Max bundle
$789 ($109 + $680) Education price Max bundle
Add $109 for each additional Make Controller beyond the first


  • I am waiting on a reply from the company about pricing and how discounts can be applied.
  • Quantity Discount applies to purchases of 10 or more of the same item.

Alternative System


  • MacMini (overview)
    • Technical Details
    • $599 for the lower standard configuration. $579 for Student purchase (limit 1 per academic year)
      • 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, 80GB Hard Drive
    • Has all the standard connections and ports of a regular PC, which makes interfacing with projectors and other standard high level peripherals easier.
    • Will almost certainly be able to handle any of the proposed Ideas


  • The Max/MSP/Jitter bundle still seems the best option, as it is an out-of-the-box environment that can do all the things we need it to do.
  • Each MacMini can run the Max bundle by itself.
    • Need a separate copy of Max bundle for each system, unless Patches can be made standalone.
    • Each system could operate completely by itself with the full power of Max/MSP and the system resources to easily handle Jitter.

Other Comments:
This system will be more expensive, but is much more powerful in most respects. The Make Controller has some different kinds of inputs that might be useful, but could likely be emulated with some effort on the MacMini.

Cost of System Conditions and Included Components
$1259 ($579 + $680) Education discount on MacMini
Education priced Max bundle
There is a purchase limit of one discounted MacMini per academic year
$1279 ($599 + $680) MacMini and Education priced Max bundle
This is the price for each system, until bulk discount on Max (5 and 10).


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