Why not turn old cell phones into awesome little noisemakers? Many older cell phones contain a MIDI synthesizer for playing ring tones and a Java Virtual Machine framework.Cell phones also include a color display, speaker, output jack, internal memory, battery, and input keys.
(Blackberry Demo by Mike Una.)
Apparently there is a lack of basic sound making apps that run on J2ME for phones. So I set out to learn the language, design, and create a simple application for playing sequenced MIDI loops. The project took several weeks to take shape, from learning the limitations of the cell phone to crafting a set of 99 short MIDI files. In the end it was a success and I’m excited about the possibilities.
The resulting application features very simple keypad controls: Numbers 1-8 randomly select one of 99 preset loops to fill the looping 8 step song mode. The # and * keys adjust the length of the song, making it shorter or longer. The 0 key turns on the Self Play mode where the pattern will change randomly or flip around. Pressing the 0 key during the Self Play also clears all patterns and returns you to the Normal Mode. The 9 key also exits the Self Play mode, but sets all patterns to random. The only obvious function missing is the ability to adjust the tempo of the whole, because the MIDI loops have individual preset tempos.
The final piece of the puzzle is this output converter box. With the exception of Blackberry phones, most have a proprietary style connector for hooking up a headset. Built with the help of this diagram, my box allows my Nokia 2610 to go from 2.5mm connector to dual 1/4 inch jacks for Input and Output. Once the sounds are processed through a delay it really makes the tones interesting and usable as filler material in an Experimental Music Set.
The first version of this MIDI sequencer is available to my readers for Free with hopes that many will try and provide feedback for a better paid digital download version in the future. So please enjoy and comment with your feedback, videos, and sounds!
http://www.getlofi.com/getlofi.jad <- This is the Install File ( 1K )
http://www.getlofi.com/getlofi.jar <- Actual Application ( 26Kb )
NOTE THAT YOUR CARRIER DATA RATES APPLY!
Extra information about ways to install .jar files.