Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

This puts a whole new spin on interpretive dance—the Input Devices and Music Interaction Lab (IDMIL) at McGill (what up, Martlets!) designed musical instruments that are played by dancing—attaching prosthetic musical instruments to the human form. You might think this can be achieved using theremin technology, but these instruments are are played by their own relationships to 3D space, by being sections of an exoskeleton, as well as a visor.

They are deliberately designed not just to function and move with the dancer, but also for an aesthetic that is intended to be organic and less manmade than cybernetic exoskeletons might initially suggest. Their goal is to blur the line between instruments and body parts, by allowing dancers to put on and remove these pieces as part of the performance.


Music is generated by inertial movement sensors, and they are also touch sensitive. In order to make them a visual part of the performance without being intrusive, they are transparent conductive plastic through which they transmit light.

Ribs come in three sizes and curve in the air around the dancer's chest. They contain inertial movement sensors, and are also sensitive to touch. To give them their own visual appeal without being distracting, they are constructed of transparent conductive plastic down which light can be shone during the performance. This portion of the project also includes a visor.

The spines are more mobile, unsurprisingly. They both curve with the movement of the dancers, and they are also robotic and can be bent by a rod that runs down its length. Inertial and magnetic sensing allows the spine to report back its position and its shape, as well as its velocity and use those components to generate sound.

It's really very easy to play trulybadhorrible music on any traditional musical instrument. If the music is a response to human motion, what creates dissonance? Is there an impled value system that prefers some movements to others? Can you make instruments react to each other (the video shows multiple dancers with these instruments) and how can we model harmony and disharmony in a cooperative metaphor.


I'd love to see the mapping between the components of the movement to the music that's generated. That looks like a place I could play in *forever* since I'm not musical, per se, but was much better at the theory which was mathematics -> sound.

More detail on mapping to music:

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