[PD] Bela - Ultra-low-latency embedded audio platform

Chris chris.heinrichs at gmail.com
Mon Feb 29 12:35:08 CET 2016

Hi Pd List!

I thought I would share our lab's latest embedded DSP project that might be
of interest to a lot of people on this list. We've made a new
high-performance embedded platform called Bela (http://bela.io) which is
designed for creating digital musical instruments and interactive audio
systems. We've been developing this for the past two years, and just today
we launched it on Kickstarter:


The most important unique feature of Bela is that it has extremely low
latency of less than 1 millisecond between action and sound, which is a lot
faster than anything else out there. There are also some useful features
for profiling sensors and a built-in browser-based development environment.
Basically it is the platform I have always wanted for my own audio projects
and instrument building, and now we're excited to be launching it to a
broader community of musicians and engineers.

The board doesn't run Pd directly, but patches can be compiled using Enzien
Audio's Heavy compiler <https://enzienaudio.com/> - so you can address all
sensor IO's from the patch.

If you have a moment, it would be great if you can help spread the word!
The project is open-source hardware and software, and the campaign is run
through the university. This email is not intended as a sales pitch -- our
goal is to build awareness, so if you know anyone who you think might be
interested please pass it along. You can find more info and social media
links below. Thanks a lot!

Best wishes,

Bela tech details:

Bela is an open-source platform for high-performance, ultra-low-latency
audio and sensor processing. It provides stereo audio in and out, onboard
speaker amplifiers, 8 16-bit analog inputs and outputs, and 16 digital
I/Os, all in a small self-contained package. Bela is based on the
BeagleBone Black single-board computer which features a 1GHz ARM processor
running Linux.

Bela runs a custom audio environment which is capable of extremely small
audio buffer sizes down to 2 samples, producing latency under 1
millisecond. All the analog inputs and outputs are sampled automatically at
audio rates, providing precise time alignment between sensors and audio. It
features an on-board, browser-based IDE including an in-browser
oscilloscope. It can be programmed in C++, or Pd patches can be compiled
for the board using the Heavy Audio Tools from Enzien Audio. The result is
musical instruments which are faster to develop and more responsive to use.

Bela was developed in the Augmented Instruments Laboratory, a team of 8
people which is part of the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary
University of London. The Kickstarter campaign, which runs through 1 April,
supports the production of the hardware. A variety of boards and kits are
available with prices starting at £45, and the software and designs are
already free to download.

More info:
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