MIDI Controller Glove Has Flex Appeal #WearableWednesday

We’ve seen musical gloves, but this Flexfinger really has a beautiful and functional design. It was created by John O’Loughlin and Miles Dean of University of Sydney. I was able to track down John for more details on the project.

It was literally about sonifying anything — any kind of user experience involving sound and based on the hardware we were given, and any other parts we wanted to add. We wanted to create an instrument that could give back some of the feel and spontaneity that’s often sorely missed in the process of creating electronic music. The spontaneity of being able to move around freely and just tap on things and make rhythms, as opposed to being chained to a desk surrounded by synths and needing to press play and record on a DAW all the time.

The duo was very inspired by movements found in classical music, and luckily John has a background in music production.

We started out by looking at things like the OmniChord and African thumb pianos that allow the user to explore melodies with different layouts to standard keyboards. We also wanted to give a similar kind of intuitiveness to the gestures a conductor uses to guide an orchestra, so we did that for the transport control gestures.

They started with a Lilypad Arduino and added flex sensors for a full range of movement options. The sensors proved to be challenging, as well as the music.

In class we used Ableton and attempted to get the glove working in Ableton with Max SP with limited success. But I’m more experienced in Logic, so when it came to crunch time, I knocked the music together in a couple of hours in Logic.

The finished glove has a great look, down to its color coordinated wires. Apparently Miles was driven with fashion sense and both men are pleased with its cyborg style. I really hope the success of this project brings more of the same, as these two could be set to create a tech orchestra. What about you? Want to try your hand at music? Check out our Flex Sensors to trigger sounds in your wearable. Hook them up to a FLORA and you’ll discover how to marry movement and music.


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