Interactive Gloves Turn Gestures Into Music

Imogen Heap wearing her Mi.Mu gloves

[Imogen Heap] is a UK-based musician who is trying to change the way we think about making music. She’s been working on a pair of gloves called the Mi.Mu, and they’re getting close to production.

In the included interview she explains that while computers and technology have brought many new advances to music, twiddling dials and pushing random buttons “is not very exciting for me, or the audience”. With these gloves, the artist becomes one with the music and interaction.

The current iteration of gloves use flex sensors along each finger to determine the movement (along with motion sensors for other gestures). She’s been through many designs and hopes to integrate e-materials into the next — using the actual glove as the sensor (not physical flex sensors).

She’s been working with both developers and musicians mapping the various motions of the gloves to music which makes sense in an intuitive way, and it’s very unique to see in action.

[Imogen Heap] was also on Letterman a few years ago! For more information about the Mi.Mu gloves, she has a website under construction, but offers an email signup mailing list.

[Thanks Aaron!]

11 thoughts on “Interactive Gloves Turn Gestures Into Music

  1. I seem to remember seeing Steve Hogarth using gloves to play music in concert back in the early 90s, on the track The Uninvited Guest. So that’d place it about 20 years ago… which makes me feel a little old:

    Obviously there’s a difference in that that was just touch sensors, but in 20 years you’d pretty much expect there to be some significant improvements in technology. At the time I remember thinking that I’d seen similar attempts to make alternative electronic interfaces which were more fluid to use – Jean Michel-Jarre had used a keyboard controlled by breaking light beams, so you wave your hands through the air to play:

    Not forgetting the cool instrument that is the Theremin, which lets you play music by moving your hands between two ‘antennae’:

    Not knocking the new gloves, which seem rather cute, but it’s neat to remember the other non-mainstream ways that music has been played… and the Theremin wins for me for employing a really quite cool physical effect to do its job.

    Also ‘very unique’? Something’s either unique or it’s not; you can’t shove an intensifier on it :-)

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