Tech

Imogen Heap's 'magic gloves' make anyone a musician

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, for CNN

Updated 12:33 PM ET, Fri January 9, 2015
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The music-manipulating gloves, as demonstrated by a Mi.Mu team member, are the latest attempt by Grammy Award-winning musician Imogen Heap to bring technology and music together in visually stimulating harmony. Lauren Said-Moorhouse/CNN
Through the design and development process, Heap has consistently set goals for the Mi.Mu team to work towards. One of the first milestones she set was to write a song specifically for the gloves. She explains: "So the team and I could create software and the hardware to enable me to make a piece of music from scratch using only the gloves to write the song and then to perform the piece only using the gloves." The result: her vibrant, ethereal song entitled, "Me The Machine." Courtesy Imogen Heap/Radius Music
"In the past I have been seen racing between different stations, looping stations, lots of different instruments," she says. "With the gloves I would try to pull the instruments closer to me so I could have microphones in my wrists so I could play anything."
Each glove is loaded with a myriad of sensors, buzzers and buttons that all send a chorus of information wirelessly back to computer software. It then interprets each gesture and produces sounds.
Initially the team had hoped to fund development through Kickstarter. While that campaign was unsuccessful, they were able to meet interested parties willing to help finance the gloves project. These "collaborators" have now received their own gloves and provide feedback to the Mi.Mu team.
"Hopefully we can fine tune the software and the hardware so that it can be possible for somebody, in maybe a year or two, to have the system off-the-shelf if they want to make music with gloves -- that's the plan," Heap says.