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Singer Imogen Heap to demonstrate magical sound mixing gloves


Have you ever wanted to mix music and look like a wizard while you’re doing it? Well, Imogen Heap is a few steps ahead of you. The singer/songwriter plans to use a pair of high-tech musical gloves when she performs at a TED conference in Edinburgh tomorrow, editing sound with nothing but her hands, much like something out of Minority Report. NewScientist reports that the gloves were developed by Tom Mitchell, a music systems lecturer at the University of the West of England.

The gloves are full of sensors, accelerometers, and gyroscopes that detect where a user’s hands are in space and what pose their finger joints are in. A microphone is also part of the rig. With the help of a laptop and some advanced software, Imogen Heap will hopefully be able to edit live on stage. Heap is excited about the technology because it lets her edit without wires.

“The gestures lend themselves to the processes that they control,” said Mitchell. “For example, a grasping gesture is used to sample voice and instruments, panning is achieved by pointing in the direction that the sound should be positioned, and filtering is achieved by closing the hands as if you are smothering the sound.”

Don’t get too excited. The project is still experimental and it will be years before you’ll find music editing gloves on store shelves, if ever. In the mean time, we can’t wait to watch the TED video in a few days. We imagine it will look something like the video below, minus the murder.

(Image via the University of the West of England)

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