Tod Machover et al.

The hyperinstrument project was started in 1986 with the goal of designing expanded musical instruments, using technology to give extra power and finesse to virtuosic performers. Such hyperinstruments were designed to augment guitars and keyboards, percussion and strings, and even conducting. They have been used by some of the world's foremost performers, such as Yo-Yo Ma, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Peter Gabriel, and magicians Penn & Teller. Since 1992, the focus of the hyperinstrument group has expanded in an attempt to build sophisticated interactive musical instruments for non-professional musicians, students, music lovers, and the general public. Systems such as Drum-Boy and Joystick Music allow non-musicians to shape and create complex and interesting musical pieces by using gestures or word descriptions (such as musical "adjectives") to influence the real-time interactive environment. Current hyperinstrument research is attempting to push the envelope in both of these directions: by designing high-level professional systems that measure the most subtle and sophisticated human performance; and by building ever-more-powerful, interactive entertainment systems for the general public (such as interactive music games, music learning systems, and Internet-oriented group performance and creation). The research focus of all this work is on designing computer systems (sensors, signal processing, and software) that measure and interpret human expression and feeling, as well as on exploring the appropriate modalities and innovative content of interactive art and entertainment environments. We have also expanded the hyperinstrument environment to include gestural and intuitive control of visual media (Laser Rangefinder, Meteorite Museum, Stretchables, etc.). Recent projects involve both new hyperinstruments for children and musical amateurs, and high-end hyperinstruments capable of expanding and transforming a symphony orchestra or an entire opera stage.

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