Thursday, 21 February 2013

Multisensor Broadband High Dynamic Range Sensing... for a Highly Expressive Step-based Musical Instrument


This paper presents two new results. The first result presents us with a High Dynamic Range (HDR) sensor for sensing touch, vibration, pressure, force, sound, or seismic waves. The second results presents us with the use of the HDR sensor to sense vibrations in solid matter that has a specific application to the newly invented musical instrument called the "Andantephone".

The "Andantephone"


The Andantephone is a newly invented musical instrument. The player interacts with the instrument by walking along the pads. Each pad is programmed to a particular chord or melody in a song, allowing the player to walk along the sequence to playback the song (walking through the song's timeline). The player dictates the tempo of the song as they speed up and slow down and if the player stops walking the music will stop. The pads are not programmed to play back keys in order, they are programmed to help teach people the basic principles of music, rhythm and tempo, as it transforms walking into a musical act. 

To build an instrument like the "Andantephone" the research team had to build a sensor with great dynamic range that would pick up heavy force like stomping, kicking, vehicles driving over it whilst at the same time be able to sense very subtle light touches like skin, feet, socks moving over it. The HDR sensor that was designed caters for the needs of this instrument. It has an extremely high dynamic range, that allows the player to play the instrument in similar ways to a piano or guitar (quick attack) combined with the ability to sustain notes over a long period of time (like an organ).

The "Andantephone" offers a great learning platform for children to interact with, learn with and have fun with. The "Andantephone" has been used in many schools and has also being installed as permanent fixtures in many playgrounds. I think it's a great way to introduce children to learning some of the core principals of music through a fun social user friendly interface.  

If you would like to read more about the Andantephone visit:


Link to paper:

Steve Mann, Ryan E. Janzen, and Tom Hobson. 2010. Multisensor broadband high dynamic range sensing: for a highly expressive step-based musical instrument. In Proceedings of the fifth international conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction (TEI '11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 21-24. DOI=10.1145/1935701.1935706

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