Imogen Heap's magical music gloves make for handmade beats
If she has her way, the British recording artist and her "nerd underground" will soon allow the world to play air guitar, air drums, and air electronica for real.
Grammy-winning British artist Imogen Heap says she's always been a bit frustrated by not being able to navigate computers and mixing boards with the same fluidity other musicians can play more traditional instruments. To solve this, she's "joined forces with the nerd underworld, creating musical gloves using new sensor technology allowing me to compose and perform music with computers in an intuitive way."
We first reported on the gloves back in 2011 when Heap debuted them at a TED conference. Now, the artist and her team of engineers and scientists are seeking funding for their "Mi.Mu gloves" through a Kickstarter campaign seeking to raise £200,000 (about $330,000 USD) to bring the technology to the masses.
According to the fundraising page, the gloves will work along with popular music software programs to translate body movements to music thanks to embedded sensors. "Imagine," the site says, "that instead of turning up a fader in order to bring in a sound or add reverb, you could be raising your arms to achieve the same effect. Or to move a sound around the room, you could simply point where you want it to be."
Not only do the gloves promise to make electronically generated music more intuitive, they should also make it more fun to watch as artists swoop around the stage conducting all those zeros and ones with their hands rather than sitting behind decks of equipment. Speaking of which, gloved artists will also have an easier time moving equipment around since making music could be done with only the gloves and a laptop, as long as they can plug into a venue's sound system.
The gloves will recognize a variety of hand gestures, including flexed fingers and sharp movements such as those made when playing a kicking set of air drums. They have holes where the palms are to allow for hand claps and cut-off tips to allow the wearer to play other instruments. Best of all, when you wear them you have wizard-like musical powers.
I could tell you more about the gloves, but really, who wants to read more when they can listen to some amazing "handmade" music in this video of the gloves in action?