Sensorband //

My initial piece of research into the field I am working in began at a discussion that took place in the Beehive Inn, Edinburgh with Atau Tanaka (Sensorband) and Martin Parker (Sound Design, UoE). The two were discussing the implications of gesture responsive technology on musical performance. How similar are electronic systems to traditional instruments; is the creation of new interfaces actually an attempt at creating old fashioned “instruments” or something new? Can interactive technology bridge the gap between the passive listener and active user?

Atau Tanaka (Sensorband)

The discussion opened my mind to new ways of creating sound, especially through movement of the human body. There were demonstrations of different tools to create sound, the strangest being a computer gaming joystick controlling sounds through Cycling 74’s Max/MSP. Listening to the pair helped me understand further the use of technology in producing music and improved my concept ideas.

Atau Tanaka is the main artist in a group called ‘Sensorband’, formed in the early 90s where each of the three members design and wear their own digital musical instruments, rigged with sensors, each creating its own sound in response to the wearers movements.



Experience Prototype //

I designed and build an Experience Prototype, which was a rectangular unit, with an array of different analogue sensors which I had hooked up to Max/MSP. I had written a program/patch in Max which allowed me to give any of the sensors any functionality I choose, for example I could have one or all sensor(s) triggering a sound such as a beat at a certain level, or changing the pitch of a playing sound, or bending the pitch of the beat that is being played.

I created this Experience Prototype to test on people that produce electronic music and/or DJs to see which kind of sensor they like to use when creating or editing a sound. I had many functional for the sensors

-Triggering a sound (beat)
-Volume Control
-Controlling the Tempo of a Metronome
-Pitch Bend
-Creating Delay
-Creating Reverb
-Low and High Pass Filters
-Phasor Control
-Playing through an Octave



I had a good response from the test, I made a short survey for the users after the test to see what they thought of the different ways to create and manipulate sound with the sensors. Here is a short video of the test...


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Experience Prototype - Test Session 01