Instrumented Bodies by Joseph Malloch and Ian Hattwick

Researchers in Canada have designed a family of prosthetic musical instruments, including an external spine and a touch-sensitive rib cage, that create music in response to body gestures.

Joseph Malloch and Ian Hattwick, two PhD researchers at McGill University’s Input Devices and Music Interaction Lab (IDMIL), worked with a team of dancers, musicians, composers and choreographers to develop wearable digital instruments for a live music and dance performance, called Les Gestes.

Each instrument can be played in a traditional hand-held way, but can also be attached to the body, freeing a dancer to twist, spin and move to create sound. All three are lit from within using LEDs.

«The goal of the project was to develop instruments that are visually striking, utilise advanced sensing technologies, and are rugged enough for extensive use in performance,» explained Malloch and Hattwick.

The pads are connected to electronics via a thin wire that runs through the acrylic. Touch and motion sensors pick up body movements and radio transmitters are used to transmit the data to a computer that translates it into sound.

«Technological devices should be made to accommodate the human body, not the other way around.»



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