The Biomuse System: Technology at the Boundary between Science and Art

Speaker: Dr. R. Benjamin Knapp
Date: Friday, September 16, 2011
Time: 11:15am-12:15pm
Location: 2150 Torgerson


How can the real-time measurement of electro-physiology be used as a tool to understand gesture and emotion in musical performance? Can this information be used to create new types of composition and performance possibilities? To answer these questions, the Biomuse system, an ergonomic physiological signal measurement system has been developed in various forms for a variety of functions. This system sits at the boundary between data collection device, human-computer interface and digital musical instrument. Results from the use of the Biomuse to measure changes in the physiology of performers, audiences in concert settings, and casual music listeners will be presented. The use of the Biomuse as an Integral Music Controller, an interface that enables the use of both gesture and emotional state to create music, will also be discussed.

For over 20 years, Dr. R. Benjamin Knapp has been working at the boundaries between human-computer interaction, universal design, and creative practice. His research on human-computer interaction has focused on the design of user interfaces and signal processing software that enable the composer and performer to augment the physical control of a musical instrument with more direct neural interaction using physiological/biometric indicators of gesture and emotion. Dr. Knapp is the co-inventor of the Biomuse system which enables artists to use gesture, cognition, and emotional state to interact with audio and video media. For the past six years, he has led the Music, Sensors, and Emotion (MuSE) research group at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University in Belfast and Principle Investigator on three pan-European projects. Starting on October 3, 2011, Dr. Knapp will be the founding director of the Institute for Creativity, Art, and Technology (ICAT) at Virginia Tech.