Meeting Topic: New Computer-Based Musical Instruments, Many Channel Audio Systems, and Open Sound Control
Moderator Name: Vene Garcia
Speaker Name: David Wessel, Andy Schmeder and Adrian Freed (CNMAT faculty)
Meeting Location: UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
On September 24th the AES San Franccisco Section met at Berkeley's University Center For New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) for a survey on their recent research activities.
Practical applications of different gestural musical interfaces were shown, all those taking advantage of the work of CNMAT on protocol and encoding development (through Open Sound Control and Sound Description Interchange Format), FPGA-based audio system development as well as the application of innovative sensing devices.
David Wessel presented a controller based around 32 multitouch pads each with 3 sensing parameters (X/Y coordinates plus pressure) sampled in the analog domain and assignable to different musical functions. This interface exchanged information with a computer running Open Sound Protocol via a multichannel digital interface developed at CNMAT carrying multiple audio channels over common ethernet hardware.
Adrian Freedman exhibited different interfaces developed during workshops at the center based around conductive fabric swatches. At this moment, CNMAT is a large repository of different types of materials. This conductive swatches, treated as tactile (touch, pressure) sensing devices open the door to integration on a variety of physical interactive forms, from "wearables" to "multiform" fabrics stretched over light armatures. Key to the efficient use of this sensing devices for development of instruments/controllers has been the work on MicroOSC, an Open Sound Protocol platform on a low cost microcontroller that allows for fast prototyping without development of a control interface for each application.
Andy Schmeder showed the 10" diameter, 120 independent channel with integrated class-D amplification spherical speaker array that has been developed at CNMAT in colaboration with Meyer Sound. The software developed to control the speaker allows for dynamic modification of the radiation pattern, and the audio channels are transported betweeen the computer and speaker via a Gigabit Ethernet interface. Interactive control of the beam forming capabilities of the device with different sensors were demonstrated and further possibilities for the use the device as a room acoustics probe tool, personalized binaural interface and acoustic tool for composers were discussed.
To wrap up the meeting, a discussion was held on the multidisciplinary research project exploring the future of parallel processing that is Par Lab, and how CNMAT is collaborating on it and believes parallel computing is the platform of the future within the music and audio technology fields.