Human body is the most ancient instrument. From clapping hands to traditional instruments to computer generated music system, there is a lack of real-time feed back and tracking of the music composition. Soundsock, a MIDI wearable system, is an attempt to augment body motion and enhance music perception by transferring socking into a synthesizer just like a "motion" keyboard. Built upon the norm of taping and shaking feet along with music, Soundsock comes out as a MIDI wearable system. Soundsock is designed in a music synthesizer setting for sound composers to experiment unique design with body movement. Soundsock allows user to rapidly compose and adjust music designs in real-time wirelessly. The pitch movement, yield movement and roll motion of ones feet are detected and transferred into serial signals for music composition software like MAX/MSP and Pure Data.
KEYWORDS sensor wearable; digital media; tangible user interface; interactive design; design computation; digital fabrication; audio product; MIDI; responsive environment; music composition; style transfer; signal processing Audio Product Design, Responsive Environments Group, MIT Media Lab Yiqi Zhao Mentor: Mark Feldmeier
provide musical COMPOSITION augment body motion enhance perception
1 Background | Define
DJs and musicians’ time consuming and complex preparation
Expensive instrumental wearable (MIDI gloves from $200-400)
Lacking of real-time feedback
Most MIDI wearable are still in object form/ upper body attachment
The product need to be very easy to understand and play
The product should function wirelessly within 1 meter from computers
The product should allow user to design their own music
The product should be lightweight and sturdy
The product should based on user’s movements (velocity and bending angle)
The product shall cost bellow $200
1.2 Target Audience
Mainly 18-35 Female
Independent business people
// Expected sell units: 50
interactive responsive feedback
2.1 Assembly List
Microcontroller (AdafruitFeather M0 Basic)
Has charging circuit
Should be used as master and slave
Require output in the format of roll and pitch movements
Long Flex sensor
47k resistor need voltage divider circuit
Stocking Thin Fabrics
51.85 persock (sell 90-180)
Long Flex Sensor
2.2 Interface | Audience
The product can transfer serial data to popular MIDI platforms like MAX MSP (Fig. 2) with a sound generator system that has eight nodes. User can design and play with customized sound or manipulate soundtracks in real-time and also apply the methodology and create their own sound generator system.
Bend feet(flex sensor) - Roll(acc) - Pitch(acc) - Yield(acc)
Prototyping. In order to test and calibrate the serial signals through bluetooth connecting via minimized hardware, the prototyping process went through different micro-controller modules and bluetooth modules. Besides accelerometers, flex sensors are adopted on to ankle parts as the drum/pause nodes for music composition.
Figure 1: Serial Data Prototype with bluetooth, flex sensor and accelerometer
Figure 2: Serial Data Manipulation in MAX/MSP
The transferred movement is monitored and analyzed for MIDI calibration. For each feet, the pitch motion and yield motion is set to 0 and 1. The roll motion and ankle taping is set to a scale of 0-8.
Figure 3: Serial Data Simulation
Place like Kickstarter/Etsy is suitable for this handmade product. However, some people have limited knowledge about MIDI can find it hard to work with. Further development of this product system will look into building the synthesizer system via simple app on phone as a more friendly user interface.
This work was partially supported by Responsive Environments Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory, under its Fall 2018 Course MAS. S70 Audio Products Design course.