Human Instrument

Latest work by Daito Manabe and Masaki Teruoka combines myoelectric sensors with electric muscle stimulations to create a human played and human responsive musical instrument.


Emonator & The MATRIX

The Emonator was developed jointly by Dan Overholt and Paul Nemirovsky. The project split in two, Paul Nemirovsky continues to work on the project under the name Emonantor whilst Dan Overholt is now developing The Matrix. Why the split? The MATRIX focuses more on the interface design and development of musical synthesis where as the Emonantor is used as a gestural controller for the Emonic Environment.

It offers a 3-dimensional interface using a square set of pushable rods that measure the movement of the hand.


The FlexiGesture dates from 2003 and is a device created to explore the relationship between input gesture and output sound.

For the majority of traditional acoustic instruments, the relationship or mapping between the input gesture and output is predominantly fixed. The advent of digital technology has allowed for the separation between the input and output, and with it the potential of defining new mapping systems.

Collection of Music Interface Projects

The following post presents a collection of music interfaces that were originally posted in the theoreticalplayground forums.

The RGB Player comprises of a rotating surface upon which a user can place coloured objects. A scanner detects these objects and generates sound depending on the distance from the centre of the rotating surface.

The AudioCube project uses four cubes each referring to a different element of music: drums, bass, lead and strings. The sides of the cubes determines the sound of the element and their relative position on the surface controls the spatial localisation.

The MusicTable provides the musician with cards that can be arranged on the table surface. The specific arrangement of the cards determines the sounds produced.

The ScanJam consists of two scanners and a computer. Each scanner represents one bar of music and objects placed on the scanners result in sound depending on the objects colour, shape and vertical placement.

The synthstick was inspired by the theremin and stylophone. A strip of VHS videotape with some conductive plastic film above it act as a ribbon control and the pitch can be adjusted by making contact at different points along the strip.

The blockjam interface consists of 25 tangible blocks that can be arranged to create musical sequences. It enables multiple users to play and collaborate. Each block can be controlled using gestural input, click-able input and also have a visual display.

The sonic banana was developed by Eric Singer. It is a rubber tube with four bend sensors inside. As the tube is twisted and shaped by the performer the data is sent to MaxMSP to create both arpeggiator and harmonica based musical sequences.

The oroboro is a collaborative musical interface. It is operated by two musicians each using two paddle mechanisms: one is a hand orientation sensor and the other is a ‘haptic mirror’ informing the user what the other musician is doing.

The ISS cube is a tangible music interface which tracks the position of objects on a tabletop surface. Different types of sounds can be played by combining and positioning the objects in different ways.

The Continuum offers continuous control in three dimensions for each finger placed on the surface.

The lemur is a multitouch musical interface developed by Jazz Mutant.

Paul Hertz developed Orai/Kalos as an interface to control audio and visual events.

The Circular Optical Object Locator is a collaborative music interface. The position of objects on a rotating platter determine the music that is produced.

The Jamodrum is a collaborative music interface inspired by drum circles. The musicians are able to create music and also effect visual changes on the tabletop. The tabletop display is often used to present interactive games to encourage collaboration and interaction between the musicians.

Cubed is a project by Douglas Stanley which is a music interface in the form of a Rubik’s Cube. Each side of the cube uses a different instrument to play notes which are determined by the colours on the face. An online shockwave implementation can be found here.

The Manual Input Sessions interface generates sound in response to hand gestures.

Instant City combines a number of fields to create an interactive computer game, musical interface and light sculpture. One or more players are able to create buildings on a table surface using blocks which in addition determines the generated sound output.

Wiimote Control

A couple of examples of what we can expect from the Wiimote. Firstly a drum machine which uses two software programs from bobsomers. The user can play drums by flicking the Wiimote & pressing a button. The latest version of the GlovePIE program has support for multiple Wiimotes as well!

This second video shows a Wiimote controlling parameters on a Nord Lead by mapping the controller messages.We’re looking forward to future developments and projects!

I/O brush – the world as the palette

The I/O Brush is a digital paintbrush that is able to detect the colour, texture and movements of objects. The brush is equipped with a small CCD video camera, force sensors and a ring of white LEDs. When the user pushes the brush up against an object the force sensors trigger the LEDs providing the video camera with enough light to make a successful recording for the period the brush is pressed against the object. The hope is that the people using it will develop their own unique ‘digital inks’ which they can use to draw on the canvas. The canvas itself is a backlight touchscreen display which is able to read from the brush and display the recorded video.