Beat Bars has come up with an innovative use for your old iPhone – turn it into a Cardboard Footswitch or Cardboard Expression Pedal with their totally inspired DIY cardboard contraptions.
This is the sort of thing that tears a smile across your face. You move quickly from “what the…?” to “well, that’s just fabulous” and you realise it’s the best thing you’ve seen all week. Cardboard that’s been origamied into a convincing-looking expression pedal and dual footswitch is pretty brilliant by itself but then inserting an iPhone to provide the functionality is pure genius. It’s all compatible with older phones so the idea is that you’ll stick in an iPhone you don’t use any more rather than tie up and stomp on your current, expensive and precious one. This is ridiculously awesome or maybe ridiculous and awesome – I can’t quite decide.
Cardboard Expression Pedal
It looks just like a Roland/Boss EV5 – but made of cardboard. It comes flat-packed and you fold it together. You run their little MIDI Expression Pedal app, wi-fi or Bluetooth it to your computer and slip the phone in the end. As you move the expression pedal it pushes on the screen and sends MIDI control messages to your computer. Simple and brilliant.
Looking a lot like a Boss FS-6 but probably not as wide the Cardboard Footswitch gives you two things to stomp on which will push buttons on your phone’s screen and send that out over MIDI to your computer. You could use it to turn effects on and off or as transport controls, sequence triggers, whatever you want.
The point is that these boxes are simply generating MIDI so you can map them to anything you like in your software. You’re not trying to manipulate apps on your iPhone which is what I initially thought because that would be ridiculous, no, the MIDI is destined for your computer. It works automatically with macOS but with Windows you’re going to need something like the rtpMIDI driver to get your PC to accept MIDI over a network connection.
The Cardboard Expression Pedal is €49.90 and the Footswitch is €39.90 and you’ll need an iPhone which feels crazy but if you’ve got one knocking around in a drawer not being used then this is the perfect application for it. And if you’re still not convinced then you can download the template and make your own out of a cereal box for free…. although maybe something stronger would be advisable.
Beat Bars also do a programmable and configurable MIDI Expression Pedal and MIDI Footswitch made from metal for €169.90 and €129.90 respectively.
- Beat Bars website.