January 2004, Issue 64

Published by Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
[formerly Music for New Media Newsletter]

You can find the online version at: http://www.sonaris.info


Scientific findings: Human Interface Technology Laboratory, Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture (NIRV)
Recommended book: Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music
For handicapped
: sendai mediatheque - an example, British Stammering Association
: Hit Song Science Basic - for independent musicians and songwriters, Classic church organ with touch-sensitive keys, intent by Tao Group Limited
Club of Amsterdam

Artificial Intelligence: MIT AI Lab - Vision Interfaces

Conferences & events
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: Scientific findings

Human Interface Technology Laboratory
The Human Interface Technology Laboratory is a research and development lab in virtual interface technology. HITL was established in 1989 by the Washington Technology Center (WTC) to transform virtual environment concepts and early research into practical, market-driven products and processes. HITL research strengths include interface hardware, virtual environments software, and human factors. The Lab hopes to develop a new generation of human-machine interfaces to provide solutions to challenges in a variety of domains.

Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture (NIRV)
Based at the University of Nottingham's custom-built Arts Centre, the Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture (NIRV) is a forum for new and innovative research in visual culture, and draws upon University-wide expertise in visual culture, and with the emphasis upon interdisciplinarity. The Institute has been established by the Department of Art History in collaboration with the Djanogly Art Gallery, the Institute of Film Studies, the School of American and Canadian Studies, and the Postgraduate School of Critical Theory and Cultural Studies.
The key to the work of the Institute is in the relationships between history, theory and Practice. The underlying objective is to bridge academic and practice research, support young researchers, encourage collaboration, and disseminate research through exhibitions, catalogues and books, and the world-wide web. The Institute is concerned with all aspects of contemporary visual culture, as well as its histories, including fine art, public art and architecture; film, video and photography; digital multi- and mass media.

: Recommended book

Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music

By Joel Chadabe
With a truly global perspective, this vivid and readable narrative provides a comprehensive overview of the history of electronic music. The author draws upon his combined experience as composer, performer, researcher, entrepreneur, and teacher to provide insight into every aspect of electronic music, including the music itself, the instruments, and the business. Based on more than 150 interviews with leaders in the field, this book allows readers to understand how and why the musicians, engineers and businessmen did what they did to develop the modern synthesizer to its current state.

: For handicapped

sendai mediatheque - an example
Services for visually-impaired persons: There are recorded books for the visually impaired such as cassette tapes and DAISY. You can either listen to the recorded books in the library or borrow them. They also lend out recorded books by mail. These services are provided free of charge.

British Stammering Association
British Stammering Association, your first point of contact for information and support on stammering, also known as stuttering. As the only nationwide organisation supporting both adults and children who stammer, the BSA is in touch with all the latest developments, new approaches to therapy, advances in other countries, new research and technology. Our website is constantly updated and is regularly congratulated for its excellence as a source of accessible information on all topics related to stammering.


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: Extra-audionary

Hit Song Science Basic - for independent musicians and songwriters
Polyphonic's Hit Song Science (HSS) analyzes the underlying mathematical patterns in unreleased music and compares them to the patterns in recent hit songs. The new technology can isolate individual patterns in key aspects of the music that humans detect and that help determine whether or not they like a given song. For example, the dictionary describes melody as a series of notes strung together in a meaningful pattern. But determining what is "meaningful" is a very human and very subjective experience. This technology is able to detect what those melody patterns are as well as decipher patterns in other aspects of the music such as beat, harmony, pitch, octave, fullness of sound, brilliance and chord progression.

To have a hit song you should ideally be able to answer "yes" to the following three questions:

1. Does the song sound like a hit?
2. Does the song have encouraging mathematical patterns?
3. Does the songs have the right kind of promotion for the current market?

We can only help you answer the second question. But our research has shown that if the answer to that question is "no" your song most likely will not see commercial success and music labels are taking this research very seriously. You should too.

Through our partnership with Loudeye Technologies, a Seattle-based company we have been able to analyze approximately 3.5 million songs. This includes almost everything that has been released by the music labels since the 1950's until the present time. The database is updated weekly with new releases. The analysis application is able to "listen to" any CD and isolate patterns in many musical events, some of which are melody, harmony, tempo, pitch, octave, beat, rhythm, fullness of sound, noise, brilliance, and chord progression. This is a process called Spectral Deconvolution. Each song is then mapped onto a grid we call the music universe and is positioned according to its mathematical characteristics. Each song is represented by a dot on the universe and the songs on one end of the universe are vastly different from songs on the other end of the universe. Songs with mathematical similarities are positioned very close to one another.

"A few people have expressed frustration and dismay that technology could be used to help identify hit songs. To those people, I would like to say that our technology is to music what x-rays were to medicine when they were first introduced. X-rays gave us the capability to see fractured bones and bruised organs, but they would be fractured and bruised even if the technology did not exist to detect them. We have detected a number of hit-song parameters. We didn't invent them. These parameters have always been there and we hope that by detecting their presence or lack thereof in your music, it will help you be more creative and become better at what you do." - Mike McCready, CEO, Polyphonic HMI

For the full story, please visit:

Classic church organ with touch-sensitive keys
A Swiss musician has accomplished a feat composer Johan-Sebastian Bach once dreamt of more than 250 years ago by making a classic church organ with touch-sensitive keys.

The invention by Daniel Glaus, a professor at Bern and Zurich conservatories, allows the player to select the sensitivity of the pipe organ's keys and to modulate the tone of each note by pressing harder or more softly.

Glaus's changes to the design of the pipes also enable shifts in tone after a key has first been struck, bringing a sound ranging from the staccato of a xylophone to a flowing and mellow legato on the same instrument, according to the Swiss National Science Foundation.

A 75-pipe prototype has been built in a Protestant church in the north-western Swiss town of Biel, the foundation, which funded the project, said in a statement. "What a difference with the traditional organ where the keys are like switches that turn the sound on or off," Glaus said. "The possibilities of the instrument have surpassed my maddest hopes. This organ offers an infinite number of nuanced tones," he added.

intent by Tao Group Limited
intent is a high-performance universal multimedia platform designed to execute content on a wide range of digital consumer and professional appliances such as mobile phones, PDAs, digital TVs, digital cameras, games consoles and in-car systems. The development of an open and advanced modular synthesizer and audio plug-in framework allows the iSS to augment the standard MIDI wavetable sounds with any algorithm or third-party audio plug-in. Tao believes this development will provide the catalyst for music software developers to create music applications and tools that can feature 3rd party synth modules and effects units, allowing the market for mobile audio plug-ins to grow and evolve just as it did in the desktop arena.

: Club of Amsterdam


: Artificial Intelligence

MIT AI Lab - Vision Interfaces
Interfaces to the digital world are exploding in terms of access points and bandwidth, yet the ease of interaction by human users is hardly advancing. We would like to make computers more natural and easy to use by allowing them to use the same visual interface modalities that humans take for granted. Simple things, like presence, posture, and gaze, are extremely important cues in communication between people, and they should be with computers as well.

Bandwidth symmetry is also a priority; users should have the same bandwidth into an interface as they experience from the interface.They can be inundated with sound and graphics so why can't they shout and gesture back? We're exploiting machine perception techniques and the rapidly increasing computational power of common workstations to build vision-based perceptual user interfaces, and integrate them with speech interfaces and user-interface technologies. Making computers interact with people using natual human interface modalities is the ultimate goal of the Vision Interfaces Project.

Projects include:

Vision-Aided Acoustic Processing
This project integrates microphone arrays and cameras for use in perceptive environments. The ceiling-mounted microphone array uses slight differences in audio signals at different microphones to amplify sounds coming from selected locations in the room. The array allows for multiple audio sources to be separated and allows users to interface speech recognition systems without the user of a close-talking microphone.

WATSON: Adaptive Tracking System
The real-time object tracker uses range and appearance information from a stereo camera to recover the 3D rotation and translation of objects, or of the camera itself. The system can be connected to a face detector and used as an accurate head tracker. Additional supporting algorithms can improve the accuracy of the tracker.

Person Tracking with Stereo Range Sensors
Three camera modules, each consisting of stereo camera and a computer, are situated in the room. The cameras are arranged to view the entire room and continually estimate 3D-point clouds of the objects in the room. Foreground points are passed to an integration module which clusters the points into blobs that represent people. From these blobs, features such as person location and posture are extracted.

Communication Via Eye Blinks

A real-time vision system that is intended to provide an alternate input modality to allow people with severe disabilities to access a computer. The system automatically detects a user's blinks and accurately measures their duration. Voluntary long blinks trigger mouse clicks while involuntary short blinks are ignored. The system enables communication using blink patterns: sequences of long and short blinks which are interpreted as semiotic messages. (Collaborative project)

Interactive Wall
This project examines the interaction between physical and perceptual interfaces in games and virtual environments. Estimates of body position and pose are the raw measurements of this perceptual interface but must be transformed into abstractions of gesture, motion, and action and mapped to application controls to be responsive as an input mechanism. The mapping of recognized tokens to controls depends on both the application and the structure of the physical space.

View-Independent HID
In a constraint-free environment, where users move freely, identification must be made view-independent so that no particular pose of the user be required. It is a difficult task for a system consisting of a small number of cameras mounted in fixed locations since most of the recognition schemes to date are not robust to significant pose invariance. Our approach to this problem is based on the efficient algorithms for constructing Image-Based Visual Hull, which allow rendering a synthetic textured view of an object from arbitrary viewpoints. We apply this methodology for gait and face recognition.


: Hado

" Hado creates words Words are the vibrations of nature Therefore beautiful words create beautiful nature Ugly words create ugly nature This is the root of the universe "
by Masaru Emoto

[Source: hado.net] The Japanese researcher in question is Dr. Masaru Emoto, chief of the Hado institute in Tokyo. He is the author of many books concerning the phenomenon of ' Hado'. The two ideograms comprising this expression Hado (pronounced hadou to rhyme with shadow) literally mean "wave" and "move". This following definition is how Dr. Emoto himself describes the phenomenon, which led him to a series of remarkable discoveries pertaining to the nature of water.

Hado: The intrinsic vibrational pattern at the atomic level in all matter. The smallest unit of energy. Its basis is the energy of human consciousness.

A rapid understanding of Hado quickly spread throughout Japan as Dr. Emoto's theory gained ground. The word subsequently became part of daily language. "The Hado of this place is really low. Let's leave." "That person has a really powerful Hado." "Let's change the Hado of this environment." Conversational pieces such as this now abound in Japan and it is largely due to his revolutionary photographs of water crystals under high magnification. Frozen crystals of water? Yes, like this..

"Arigatou" -Thank you in Japanese

This is not just any crystallised molecule of water however. What has put Dr. Emoto at the forefront of the Hado phenomenon is his proof that thoughts and feelings affect PHYSICAL reality. By producing different Hado through written and spoken words, as well as music and literally presenting it to the SAME water samples, the water appears to "change its expression". The exquisite beauty of the above crystal of frozen tap water is clearly the result of Hado being projected at it. The expression of human gratitude (arigatou) is thus immediately reflected in water. Well, if this appears to be the case then let's see what other 'expressions' water may have...

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Copyright 2003 Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without written permission is prohibited. Sonaris Consulting cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of information supplied herein or for any opinion expressed.