Whether it be a crock pot that is can be controlled through WiFi and an app on your phone or a shirt that can keep track of your heart rate and workout stats, the internet of things is creating a reality where the gap between physical and virtual space is closing. Whether this be good or bad to some, it cannot be denied that this movement in technology and networking has created some innovative and incredible devices.
One such device is the Mi.Mu gloves, conceptualized by British musician Imogen Heap. Through linking multiple sensors through a WiFi connection, the gloves can act as a musical instrument through live gesture and tactile input. The sensors measure the bend of the fingers, positioning/angle of the hand and send this the information to a dedicated software titled Glover, which interprets the data in terms of pitch, yaw, and roll. This means that the position of the user’s fingers, hands, and the angle of their wrist can correspond with a certain gesture that influences the sound. Glover can be setup with third-party digital audio workstations and can quite literally place complex composition tools in the palm of your hand. In the video below, Imogen Heap shows some of the gestures, such as gentle sweeps of the hands to control effects and filters or a vertical swipe to delete the composition made. This demonstration leads to a performance of her song “Hide and Seek” where she uses entirely gestures to loop, adjust the pitch, and apply effects and filters to microphone input to create a swirling choir out of one voice (Starting at time 9:19).
Through the technology of internet of things, Heap and Mi.Mu have created a truly unique music creation device that allows for natural input to fuse with the digital world, making digital music production feel more dynamic and grounded in the real world. I feel like innovations like these are positive examples of IoT technology, as they connect the tangible world with the virtual to improve productivity without being a creepy invasion of the user’s privacy. I believe that more inventors and companies should take note of the concept of these gloves and use human physiology and psychology to improve how we interact with technology and how technology interacts with us.