Presented At
Burning Man: 2016, 2018
Winter on D: Fire & Ice Festival at the Lawn on D: 2015
Figment Boston: 2014-2015
First Night Boston: 2014
Priceless Festival: 2013
Somatone is a multi-user collaborative movement-controlled musical instrument. The piece inverts the standard relationship between movement and music. As opposed to dancers responding to music, they create music with the character and flow of their movements. Each person can control only part of the soundscape; multiple people are required to fully experience all aspects of the music. This inherently collaborative interaction, when combined with the inverted dance/music relationship, leads to a creative play space where people explore ideas in both movement and sound and share those ideas with each other. These ideas become the music people are creating together.
Somatone senses movement using X-Band doppler radar sensors. The sensors communicate speed by oscillating an output pin based on the frequency differences between outgoing and returning radar pulses. I created responsive speed measurements by using microcontroller interrupts to count microseconds between pulses and converted that to meters per second. Each light pole is paired with a microcontroller and radar sensor and can function independently visually. To integrate the audio across all seven light poles, I created a communications protocol based on RS-485 which allowed all seven light poles to talk to a computer which converted the collection of signals to MIDI. The MIDI signals were used to control either Ableton Live or Reasons depending on the iteration of the projects.

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