Biosensing & Biorobots: Artist Statement

With this project, we aim to create an interactive experience that is both fun and thought provoking. Muscle impulses from the drummer inspire the hexbot to move forward, while hits registered from the sticks influence the direction it travels in. People are moved in many ways by music, whether physically or emotionally, or both. To view the hexbots moved by the biosensed impulses of a drummer’s arm and see it dance to the rhythm is to reimagine our understanding of music. We can become the influencer and the observer- and yet still partake in the experience.

This technology could also be viewed as a way to create a multimedia art piece. While we chose to have our muscle imposes control the movement hexbot, these impulses could be transcoded into a wide array of other formats to create a visual output. So, with muscle sensors hooked up to a drummer (as they are in this demonstration), the muscle impulses involved in the drumming process could be converted into an accompanying visual output that is intrinsically tied to the audio output. Thus, a dynamic multimedia piece is born, creating a bi-sensory experience for the audience. By presenting the muscle impulses of a drummer in a visual format, the audience can suddenly experience and appreciate the skill of the drummer (typically evaluated as an auditory output) in a whole new medium, potentially expanding their enjoyment and understanding of the performance. In addition, this concept could expand far beyond drumming. For example, this technology could be used to convert the muscle impulses from a soccer player’s calf, a weightlifter’s biceps, or an orchestra conductor’s forearm into a musical number, a visual display, or a tactile experience.

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