How Gloves and Wearable Tech Could Change Music Performance: In Depth with Imogen Heap and Team

In fits and starts, musical interface inventors have tried for decades to make manipulating digital music more expressive. But that persistence comes out of a clear goal post. They want the machine’s seemingly-endlessly possibilities to fit the human like a glove. Imogen Heap is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of electronic musical performance, always making it seem as effortless as her songwriting and stage presence. For the Gloves Project, she assembled a super-team of wearable experts, interaction designers, and music researchers, several doctorates between them. This who’s-who have finally unveiled a project they’re ready to make public, and the …

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The DIY Display: OSCAR is an Open, Ultra-high-res Screen Controller

It’s about time the maker movement tackled display technology. Enter OSCAR (Open SCreen AdapteR). It’s the sort of super high-resolution 9.7″ LCD panel you’d expect trapped inside something like an iPad, but you can connect it directly to a computer via Arduino. Now, the actual “DIY” bit here is pretty simple: it’s just the interface. But even just having the interface is fairly useful. The display tech itself remains mass-market, mass-produced, but by adding that raw display part to the interface, you can build your own projects – and there are clearly some installation and other DIY projects just waiting …

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The Augmented Guitar: In Final Hours of Crowd-Funding, Watch What Guitar Wing Can Do

Like superhero armor, the sleek Guitar Wing fits over the edge of your guitar – your existing, beloved guitar – and gives it badass bonus powers. The crowd-funded accessory finally brings control for digital instruments and effects to the fingertips of guitar and bass players, without forcing them to change instruments or give up their conventional techniques. Instead, Guitar Wing, via Bluetooth connection, provides pressure-sensitive pads, faders, buttons, switches, and (if you like) three-dimensional motion control right to the instrument. USB charged, rechargeable battery-powered, and with RGB color feedback and editing options, it’s ready to go anywhere and control anything. …

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Wiring, Electronic and Emotional: Watch A Moving Short Film about Contollerist Moldover

Electronic musicians – controllerists, if you will – may choose to augment themselves with machines. They may build elaborate custom electronics so they can express themselves live more than the default music technology would otherwise allow – acoustic, amplified, or digital. But there has to be a human there first. In a documentary film from November, Moldover talks about what drives him to make music. It’s that emotional place that motivates both his technological expression and songwriting, and that’s something I imagine will be poignant whatever genre you choose as your own.

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This Wearable Necklace Mic Could Change How You Hear – or Record

Listening accurately is all about direction. It’s the power that lets you carry on a conversation in a loud bar, and hear where sounds are coming from. But for anyone trying to record sounds – or anyone who has impaired hearing – those sounds can be lost. Directional microphones can solve that problem, but they have an additional one: size. Some of the more directional mics are simply huge. That’s where Wear becomes interesting. Emmy-winning engineer and AV specialist Eric Rosenthal teamed up with designer and sound artist Michelle Temple, and they’ve created a new solution. (Rosenthal is an ITP/NYU …

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Vectr, the Wave-your-hands Analog Module, Just Got Crowd-funded

Wriggle your fingers above the light-up glow of the Hackme Vectr, and you can control sounds in space. The results are good for spooky sonic exploration – a less-temperamental Theremin – and apparently have inspired sound lovers, because the project reached its first crowd-funding goal. Through Thursday morning, January 9, you can get your own Vectr for about US$299-325 (or a fancy special edition for $399), estimating shipping in May. In this initial design, the focus is on analog control: 3-axis gestural control with LED feedback 30-second gesture sequence recording Sequence gesture playback, itself controlled by gestures It’s especially nice …

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UMIDI are Custom-Designed DJ Controllers, Built to Order [Gallery, Video]

umidi – The World’s First Custom & Visual DJ Controller from umidi on Vimeo. DJs, laptop musicians, and VJs may never agree on what layout is optimal for controlling their apps. With UMIDI, they might not have to. The Kickstarter-funded project has an ambitious goal: building whatever control you want, to order. Use a graphical Web interface to select a layout, and the producer will custom-machine a case out of aluminum, etching it with your own design, and adding the controls you want. The resulting hardware is USB class-compliant and works with any software, they say, and weighs under 3 …

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A Case in Motion: AUUG Marries Wearable iPhone, Software, Cloud in Gestures

The next innovations in music and sound may come somewhere between fashion and instrument, between hardware, software, and service. The AUUG Motion Synth represents one idea of how to do that. In terms of hardware, it’s just aluminum – albeit aluminum in a rather clever configuration. Worn on your wrist, it solves the problem of how to gesture with an iPhone or iPod touch without … well, without dropping it. There isn’t any additional sensor; it simply uses the sensing already in the device. Then again, with Apple’s iPhone 5S, that may be what you want, and the presence of …

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Interview: Sheffield’s The Black Dog Branch into Controllers, With Crowd-Funded Gear

The Black Dog are titans of experimental techno and house, with a long record to match. (We reviewed – and praised – their latest album, Tranklements.) But you may not associate them with manufacturing hardware. As the landscape of crowd-funded music hardware grows, though, that’s exactly the venture they’re now willing to take, as the members of that group co-found a new, England-based manufacturing company dubbed Machinewerks. And the results so far already give insights into what they value in controller design and how they use those controllers in their music. They’re now well on their way to funding a …

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Multi-Touch with Your Current Keyboard, And How Expressive, Crowd-Funded Keys Stack Up

Augmenting keyboards with additional expression is a tradition that goes back nearly a century. Inventors have tried keys that bend and wiggle, add-ons from pulleys to ribbons, wheels and pressure sensors, and more – anything to extend the piano and organ beyond their on/off playing methods. But now, the Web has accelerated the ability to communicate and develop these ideas. Crowd-funded invention is becoming widespread. And that means we’ve actually seen several polyphonic touch expression schemes this year. Rather than just presenting papers at conferences, instrumental experimenters are going to musicians and trying to fund real products. American-born, London-based composer, …

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