Cutting Edge MIDI Tech Roundup: Midi Jacket, Beatsurfing App, PocoPoco Update

The past week and a half has been chockfull of artists and critics debating the importance of playing live and the state of dance music, washing out some cool smaller stories that went under the radar. We’re taking a few minutes today to highlight three interesting MIDI-based projects – a Mexican jacket that sends MIDI notes, an incredible controller design app, and an update to a Midi Fighter-like product that we highlighted nearly a year ago.


Why not wear your MIDI controller on you while you’re walking around? We can think of a few reasons, but it doesn’t make Mexico-based MACHINA‘s Midi Jacket any less of an interesting concept. With three touch strip sensors on the exterior of the jacket, as well as an accelerometer and “flex sensors” in the sleeve, we could easily see this project being complemented with an iOS application that allows the user to jam out while walking around town, manipulating beats and effects while staying warm. Check out the clothing design company’s promotional video for the jacket below, featuring performing musician Moi and a fair amount of anti-Internet censorship messages.

The jacket is “coming soon”, pricing unknown, – and the one featured in the video is supposedly one of five models. After watching the demo, we’re not sure that the accelerometer and bend detection actually offer any level of intuitive control yet- but often it’s hard to tell simply based on a short clip like this.


TouchOSC has been widely used as the basis for iOS DJ and performance controllers for years, and when Liine’s Lemur for iOS application came out earlier this year, it highlighted how unnecessarily difficult TouchOSC programming and template generation was. Beatsurfing puts both Lemur and TouchOSC to shame, allowing the user to make and edit controller templates from within the program, on the fly. The application also takes a unique approach to controls – instead of simply emulating analog controls, it has unique shapes and designs of controls that act differently and are capable of interacting with eachother.

We haven’t had a chance to put this app through the paces yet and see just how versatile it is, but simply based on the feature set and intelligent design, it’s a step in the right direction for touchscreen MIDI controllers. The app is $11.99 – learn more about it on the official Beatsurfing site.


It’s been nearly a year since we first covered the Midi Fighter-esque Pocopoco prototypes that were developed by the IDEEALab in Tokyo, and the team has been silent until earlier this month, when they released the above new performance video of the devices in use. It’s a much higher quality video, the units are a bit more polished than videos and photos in the past, and the performance itself is more exciting, with things really getting intense in the final minute (although the performers continue to look completely disconnected from the performance).

We’ve reached out to the IDEEALab team to see if the new video is a sign of things to come, like a potential production run, but at the time of publication they haven’t responded.

beatsurfingIOSipadlemurmachinaMexicomidimidi jacketpocopocotouch osc
Comments (32)
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  • djlynzo

    Yeah they’re cool and funny but I’m really not convinced this can be an authentic way of doing now a days. Having a simple midi controller with buttons knobs and jog wheels is good enough. Special Jackets and popping buttons? 

  • djlynzo

    Yeah they’re cool and funny but I’m really not convinced this can be an authentic way of doing now a days. Having a simple midi controller with buttons knobs and jog wheels is good enough. Special Jackets and popping buttons? 

  • roubignol

    “although the performers continue to look completely disconnected from the performance”I personnally never felt it was an obligation for perfommers to headbang/puttheirhandsintheair/whatever gesticulation to appear connected to their music.
    I’d even say that since Kraftwerk and later the apogee of minimalism, the static and cold attitude is part of the game and a real aesthetic move when it comes to electronic music. And Kraftwerk live is really a blast. As a side note, i’ve never understood how one could be submerged be the beats and dance like a madman, while looking at the dj in the same time, or worse, when i look at dj’s à l Guetta, why he felt it was necessary to show the crowd when to put their arms in the air when the music is supposed to give that indication alone, but i suppose the sheeps need their leadership…

  • StyleFlip

    The Poco Poco would look pretty good with some skin designs on it. I would throw some actual Street Fighter images on it to get that “Street Fighter”-esque action going on! 

  • guest

    The beatsurfing video sounded like a slugabed song. Just sayin’

  • Otacon

    I think these look pretty amazing, what about Audio Cubes though? its an interesting midi controller

  • Nictwist

    Poco poco has blew my mine more than Robert Downey Jr. has for crack

    The Japanese have done it again, i want it, and i want it now

  • DJ ForcedHand

    The MIDI Jacket just seems to be someone WANTING to make something happen rather than a wearable controller happening as a natural thing. I don’t see the point in getting it, especially since it only has a few controls. (PASS)

    Beatsurfing seems somewhat functional, but it’s not pretty and seems rather clunky. Also, the iPad doesn’t seem like the right platform for tapping out controls because it’s all touch and no force-feedback. (PASS)

    The POCO POCO seems oddly cool to me. It’s not just a controller, it’s a piece of interactive art where the buttons turn into dials (very handy). If the MF3D and the POCO POCO were to merge technologies and maybe add some (touch) sliders on the side, I think I would get this. (INTERESTED)

    • Swal

       yes beatsurfing is not build for tapping. its for gliding.

  • Anonymous

    Does Whac-a-mole come to mind for anyone else when they see the Poco Poco?

  • DayDay

    First button and knobs, then touch screen midi, and then gyroscope midi. Don’t forget to mention about BMX attached & this jacket attached midi. 

    Watching someone doing simple scratch on the turntable is much more cooler than watching someone doing triple speed button pushing on his plastic arcade box. 

    No matter how hard you button pusher & midi geeks trying to be cool in what you called this “new age dj equipment”, you’ll never and ever whip out the art & the skill of the outdated (this is what you buttonpusher called) turntablism. 


    • Civ142000

      This guy probably sucks at both.

    • Stig Fostervold


      New technology isn’t a bad thing. If you prefer turntablism, then stick to that. I still prefer books out of paper than .pdfs, but that doesn’t make .pdfs, or real-life books, any better or worse. Same thing applies here. 

    • Arkadios

      Why do you even read or watch the videos on this post about MIDI then? Quit hating. There’s more than 10 ways to DJ….that’s what makes it beautiful. It’s not like every dood enjoys blondes or brunettes…

    • jo koni

      you are such a tool mate.
      Why don’t you check another site. This one is about technology.
      go whine at your technics purist mates who think the whole world sucks.
      you guys wouldn’t be using mixers with crossfaders if you regected advancement in tech since djing was born

      • commonsense

        So much hate i need an AK!

    • DJ ForcedHand

      Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds? Inventions make life better (that’s why you have a Computer).

      This is what DayDay sounds like:
      “Cuz yo, if I dump on yo shizzle enough, you all be all “peace out” and quit  DJin’ an’ stuff for us REAL MCs to do. Damn, you fooz be takin’ all my jobs and stuff ’cause I can’t learn how to use a controller. Why can’t we go back to when DJin’ was easy, all the women were all up on us and we was respectid?!?”

      Now, let’s say there was ONLY one way to DJ and that was ONLY to show “how much skills you got”, I’d seriously like to see DayDay match “skillz” against Qbert or Shiftee or Ean or (this list goes on for a very
      long time) using
      Traktor Scratch Pro.

      I don’t think DayDay gets that 1) there are other styles of music 2) there are many ways to mic music (other than being a human scratch machine) 3) there are people out there who Scratch (well) AND push buttons.

      My favorite part of the post is “Peace”… as though that’s something you throw around after insulting pretty much everyone here. This is about as much out of place as Jesus with an M-60, blowing away people. “Peace” doesn’t close off all communications, “Peace” doesn’t mean “I rest my case”, “Peace” means to create a harmonious environment… clearly, that’s not what this person is doing.

    • Sirchone

      My dude , I’ve been scratching for many years .. being a controllerist is a totally beast .. and may I add … Harder to be good at.

    • Macdigibeats

      I halfway agree. I agree in part that these controllers in this video are just plain garbage. A midi controller Jacket? WTF is the point of that, does it have a full range speaker system equipped with a 12″ sub and a full featured DAW in it to control everything? No, so it’s not functional as a jacket. Nobody wants to wear a guitar or a drum set, this is just trendy material garbage marketed to people who need to feel cool. The Poco Poco is obviously just another trendy controller, lacking in features and is already outdated in comparison to the Midi Fighter 3D. The fact that it took 3 dudes to perform one lame ass beat with no soul at all just shows this thing is extremely limited. 

      But on the other hand, there are great controllerists who take full advantage of the technology at hand. I love turntablism, but there are waaayyy too many snobby vinyl DJs out there who can’t even beat match correctly, let alone showcase any other talent, and most of those who have ‘proven themselves’ have too much of an ego to even try giving a half way decent performance unless they are getting paid top dollar. I know vinyl DJs around my town who will get paid $200-400 a night, and they’re just throwing on prerecorded mixes and chillin at the bar half the time, because they aren’t getting paid enough. While a lot of controller cats like myself will work on sets of all original material and really give our best performance possible and be lucky if we get $25-$30 or a couple drink tickets. This is a big reason why controllerism is really becoming big, because we’re a lot hungrier than most (not all!!) turntable DJs and we aren’t afraid to let go of the ego to try and learn new things. Just my opinion though. 

    • idiotDestroyer

      If you think being a “button pusher” is so stupid maybe you should stick to contacting people by pen and paper instead of the technology of a phone, taking pictures by using paint and a canvas instead of the technology of a camera, getting on a horse to go to work instead of the technology of your car. Fucking idiots these days…. im almost suprised he’s not arguing the fact that most dj’s arent a real musician because they play other peoples music……..

  • Jeff

    How about the Makey Makey?

    • Spacecamp

      We’re getting a unit soon to check out and review 😀

  • Deecodameeko

    Beatsurfing’s interface is pretty cool…the poco is simple and beautiful but my god…the midi jacket…it doesn’t seem to offer enough flexibility and control. 

  • Lee Grace

    my friend made 3 wicked midi devices built into gas masks the once.  they basically had 3 directional mic’s in each which converted the latency of the audio being picked up into midi.  this enabled awesome crowd immersion.    

    • Ernie


  • Israel0823

    poco poco is the best thing I’ve ever seen it brought a smile when I was hearing the song

  • neotechtonics

    Wheres the proximity/motion MIDI control? something along the lines of Roland’s D-beam technology or a theremin.. the MIDI jacket is gimmicky, don’t see it being practical. I’d rather have something akin to a virtual reality glove.

  • Djlbiz

    Midi control surfaces on clothes or wristbands etc was only ever moments away.
    It could be great, however it could lead to some interesting situations (like if you intend to go in the crowd and get nudged about a bit) still slick looking jacket and fun concept for sure.

  • Lauti

  • Mattmangrease

    Poco Poco