Tech Project

DesignMusicAugmented realityUIAudioInteractionVisionVisualizationCocreationTactileEmotionImmersionHaptic feedbackHuman-computer interactionArt3DElectronicsExoskeletonCross-disciplinaryData-visualisation
Open Call
In Residency
Residency Outcome
Embodme develops an electronic music instrument, based on computer vision to play with mid-air gestures.
From Jan. 3, 2019 to Jan. 3, 2020
  • -  Cap Digital
    - Credits: Cap Digital
  • -  Edgar Hemery
    - Credits: Edgar Hemery
  • -  Label Famille
    - Credits: Label Famille

Description of the challenges faced by the Tech Project

Our ambition is to make computer music natural and performative. Putting forward the body and gestures in the musical performance, enables to rethink how to compose music with machines. Furthermore, embodiment allows for the audience understanding of processes causing sounds. The main challenge will be to put this concept into practice, to develop playing techniques with mid-air gestures, and to finally demonstrate it in a musical piece.

Brief description of technology

At first, the Embodied Musical Instrument (EMI) - our first prototype codename - was conceived as a framework for piano-like gestures tracking and recognition. The EMI uses computer vision to record, model and analyze the movement on and above a tabletop-like surface. Gesture recognition has been in the last decade at the origin of a growing amount of consumer devices, especially for video gaming. Yet, challenges remain in capturing expressivity with sufficient precision for musical expert applications. Researchers, designers or musicians willing to analyze movement, systematically face issues concerning choice of sensors, specific set-ups for specific contexts (live concert, instrumental practice, experimental studies). Our solution proposes a simple but efficient haptic feedback for effective gesture controls and a large interactive volume for exploratory mid-air gestures. Finger tracking is performed in 3D above the surface of the instrument thanks to depth cameras, and also on the surface with a touch sensitive panel. Sensors fusion allow for mid-air and visual interaction, while remaining robust and precise.

What the project is looking to gain from the collaboration and what kind of artist would be suitable

The artist in residence will be our first long term real world tester, developing playing techniques, exploring and pushing the possibilities of this new family of instrument as far as possible. Crucial in our product development, we will be attentive to the artist opinions in terms of product design, UI and UX. Our past artistic collaborations have been incredibly fruitful. We believe more time, a defined context and a common project will help us clarify the uses of this instrument in the real-world. If everything goes as planned, our product will be commercialized in 2020 and marketed at the beginning of spring 2018. The production of this artistic residency could be directly used to promote our release if agreed by the two parties.

Resources available to the artist

Embodme is currently incubated at the 104 Factory, the incubator of the cultural centre « Cent Quatre » (104) in Paris. 104 is a space for residencies, production and promotion for artists from all over the world. It extends over a total surface area of 36,800m², of which 25,000m² is usable exhibition space. The building is designed to accommodate 5,000 visitors at any one time. It has a residence capacity for 200 artists. The resident artist will have access to various studios, shared and partitioned spaces. Audio equipment, internet, 24/7 access and of course the EMBODME prototypes will be provided. We are available for artistic production until September 2019.