Musical Gloves performance by Imogen Heap

British musician, songwriter and singer Imogen Heap performed at the opening of the annual TEDGlobal in Edinburgh/UK, with a pair of high-tech gloves, the ‘Musical Gloves‘, continuing the recent trend of the use of wearable technology by artists to enrich their performance.

The ‘musical gloves’ are essentially a high/soft tech musical instrument enabling the artist to manipulate, to compose on-the-fly with hand gestures music based on virtual instruments, recordings of vocals and acoustic effects.

Imogen performed without any other electronic devices or the use of pre-recorded material. Gestures with the ‘musical gloves’ such as a grasping motion to ‘catch’ the sound of her voice which is then filtered by clasping the hands together and ‘release’ the sound again by opening the hands.

Sounds really interesting, would have loved to see the performance but could not find a video clip online.

From where is the ‘musical glove’ magic coming?

Accelerometer and gyroscope sensors in each glove detect the movements of the finger joints and the orientation of the hands in space and microphones at the wrist capture surrounding sounds.

These movement/location/acoustic information is then send wireless to a computer for audio sound processing.

The ‘musical gloves’ have been developed by Dr Tom Mitchell, a lecturer and researcher at the University of the West of England in collaboration with Imogen and support by Fifth Dimension Technologies (5DT) and x-IO.

I am really fascinated seeing the growing number of artists collaborating with wearable technology experts to spice up their performance, be it via magical visual (light) effects or magical acoustic effects. I am giving a high-five for the ‘musical gloves’ and Imogen Heap.

[New Scientist via BBC News]

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