Run Guitar Effects With Your Face; More on Motion Tracking and Gestural Control

If you haven’t yet seen commentary on this at Music Thing or (originally) WWMNA, David Merrill of the MIT Media Lab has a project for controlling guitar effects with his face. (It’s not new, incidentally — dates to 2003, and you can look forward to more of this sort of thing at the annual New Instruments for Musical Expression aka NIME, due next in Paris in June 2006.) So, uh, aside from being weird, could this ever actually be useful and not just freaky? Possibly: gestural mapping gets especially interesting, as David uses a nod to trigger an event, for …

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Hypersense Complex: Gestural Gloves for Music

Flex sensors are fab: these cheap strips send varying voltages when you bend them, seen in use in projects like Eric Singer’s sonic banana (basically, a bendable tube for triggering sounds). The trick is turning that flex data into something useful. Hypersense Complex is a three-person collaborative working on new musical interfaces, and they’ve been nice enough to post details of the hardware and software they’re using. Hardware — all cheap, off-the-shelf stuff you can play with, too. Software — they’re doing fancy Python script interpretation to turn gestures into music in the free sound app SuperCollider. Check out details, …

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Gestural Music

Sometimes the best interface for music is no interface at all. The international S.S.S. trio (Sensors Sonics Sights) has adopted three different gestural interfaces for their work: ultrasound, traditional Theremin, and EMG electrical 'bio-signals' that measure muscle contractions. None of these are unique in themselves, but seeing the visual artist, Theremin virtuoso, and electronic music inventor making arm motions together onstage is entertaining. It's incredible to consider: the Theremin was invented in 1919, but in 2004, with all the technology we have, there's still novelty to someone magically waving their arms and producing sound. (First seen on networked_performance)

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