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Bela: an Embedded Platform for Low-Latency Interactive Audio (Kickstarter)

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Bela is an embedded computing platform developed for high quality, ultra-low latency interactive audio. Bela provides stereo audio, analogue and digital I/O in a single self-contained package. It combines the processing power of the BeagleBone Black embedded computer with the timing precision and connectivity of a microcontroller.

Bela is for anyone who wishes to develop powerful and responsive embedded interactive audio applications. It is particularly suited to electronic musicians and instrument designers, but is also useful for artists, makers and other embedded hardware programmers who want to take advantage of its ultra-low latency audio and sensor processing capabilities.

Bela is designed with audio in mind. It uses the BeagleBone Black single-board computer which features a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor and 512MB of RAM. It runs a custom Linux audio environment that gives you buffer sizes as small as 2 samples, producing latency as low as 1 millisecond from audio in to audio out, or even down to 100 microseconds from analogue in to analogue out. What’s more, every analog and digital pin is automatically sampled at audio rate, providing precise, jitter-free alignment between audio and sensors.

What this means for you is that your digital musical instruments and interactive hardware just got a lot more responsive and expressive: Bela’s speed and timing precision allow for natural, intuitive and immediate gestural control. Digital instrument design has never been this elegant.

Bella on Kickstarter

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Editor-in-chief at CreativeApplications.Net, co-founder and editorial director at HOLO Magazine, director of platform at FRM and researcher/lecturer at the University of Westminster, London.