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Imogen Heap’s Magic Gloves Create Music Through Movement

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British recording artist and actress Imogen Heap has unveiled the latest version of her electronic Mi.Mu gloves that let you create music with your computer using hand gestures. As she demonstrates in a video posted on Vimeo by design site Dezeen, Heap has added wifi to the gloves eliminating the cumbersome cables of earlier versions. The gloves are made using e-textile technology in which sensors and wiring are integrated into the fabric.

Imogen Heap’s Magic Gloves

Imogen Heaps game-changing Mi.Mu gloves could radically alter the ways in which you create music. Photo: Fiona Garden

The gloves contain gyroscopes, magnetometers, and accelerometers that work in concert with motion sensors embedded in the fingertips. The degree to which fingers are bent or spread are detected by the gloves that also can interpret gestures such as open-palm, closed-fist, or finger-pointing.

Anatomy of a Mi.Mu Glove

Unlike MIDI- and other software-based music creation that involves deep diving through menus, parameter setting, and endless configurations of hardware and software, Mi.Mu gloves are intended to offer a much more intuitive and ergonomic experience. “Pushing buttons and twiddling dials is not very exciting for me or the audience," Heap says. "I can make music on the move, in the flow and more humanly, [and] more naturally engage with my computer software and technology."

The demo was shot at Heap’s home studio near London and is timed to coincide with her launch of a Kickstarter campaign to raise £200,000 in R&D funding to create a short production run of the gloves. Both the gloves and the software will be made available as open source intellectual property. Heap is intent on opening her innovations up to musicians, hackers, and artists in an effort to expand the ways in which Mi.Mu gloves will be used.

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