Sole to soul – foot tapping to a new beat

If you like to march to your own beat, then this prototype sole sensor might be for you.

Kristian Nymoen, associate professor in music technology in the University of Oslo, spent two years developing this wearable music sole. It creates interactive, flexible, music that’s controllable by the listener.

The sole has three sensors, while a central interface sends information to a computer. A gesture recognition algorithm allows various control possibilities and also selects which parts of the song to play.

A central interface box is strapped to the user’s leg.

Kristian Nymoen says “The type of gait that I have, if I’m walking or tapping the front or the back of my foot is classified with a machine learning algorithm and this classification is to determine which part of the music is currently playing.” The device could be used for exercise, pushing an athlete running out of steam to go faster. Dancers could also benefit.

Kristian Nymoen also says “In the different parts of the music I influence different aspects of the music itself, so if I’m walking I can let the walking tempo detect (determine) the speed of the music, and if I’m tapping the front of my foot it will change to another pattern, and the activity level of say one of the instruments is changing, and the different filters is influenced by another pattern.”

Nymoen and colleague Professor Jim Torresen believe their EU-funded work could create a market where audio producers make flexible music rather than pre-recorded songs.

Although current technology would probably create a network lag, it could soon become possible for two users on the other side of the world to create interactive music together.

‎Nymoen says he hopes to start a craze for a whole new type of ‘sole’ music.

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