News and Events

From WPI to Carnegie Hall and Beyond…Sergio Salvatore!

WPI graduate Sergio Salvatore has always explored the fusion of interactive technology and music. Since he began recording at the age of 11, Salvatore’s superb musicianship has led to recordings that have featured such notable players as Chick Corea, Michael and Randy Brecker, Gary Burton, Jay Anderson, Danny Gottlieb and William Kennedy. Watch the video…..


Flying in 2008

by Joseph Farbrook

As we find ourselves waiting for take-off for ever-extended periods of time, the choreography that happens outside the airplane window moves to the forefront. With patience, this play reveals its structure and beauty, but requires that one fully release the anxiousness of waiting and embrace the moment. It is a precise and elaborate performance for which the audience sits behind small windows to view.  Watch the video.....

Acoustic Pinpoint Technology

The world's first reference monitor for desktop mastering. Developed by Auramaxx and tested at WPI, the new patent pending Shadowcaster technology allows the desktop user the experience of headphone listening through desktop speakers.

Acoustic Instrument Simulation Studies

Expressive music performance using computers has long been limited by traditional synthesis and sampling technologies. As a result, the investigation into realistic and natural acoustic instrument and orchestral simulation has focused on Reconstructive Phrase Modeling (RPM). Developed by electronic music visionary Eric Lindemann, the technique extracts musical, expressive, and idiomatic information from acoustic instruments by focusing on the analysis of musical phrases instead of non-contextual single samples. This approach preserves much of the natural and contextual nuance of the individual instrument. The WPI Virtual Orchestra Group is currently designing and testing large orchestral simulations utilizing RPM.

Virtual Tour of the Dickens Museum/Home in London

The development and implementation of a virtual tour of the Dickens Museum and Home in London was realized by Carol Carveth, Matthew Densmore, Shawn Donovan, and Brenton Dwyer of WPI. The project was intended to increase access to the museum and provide complete access for those with disabilities. The team created several prototype tours from which an internet-based tour was finalized.

Preserving the Public Art of Venice

Art serves as a way of representing a culture and preserving its accomplishments for the future. One such art form is public art, and one of the largest collections of public art in the world exists in the city of Venice, Italy. Over the past twenty years, WPI students, working in the field of public art, have accomplished a great deal towards increasing art awareness and encouraging art preservation. To date, 6447 pieces of public art have been catalogued in the city of Venice. Now, a nonprofit organization, PreserVenice, has finally been founded with the purpose of restoring, preserving, and halting the deterioration of Venetian public art.

The Postmodern Prince

In a well-argued and insightful book, John Sanbonmatsu traces the rise of postmodern theory to the ‘expressivist’ politics of the New Left; he shows that the postmodern attempt to promote differences and question notions of universality has undercut the possibility of a unified radical movement.

High-Bandwidth Acoustics Research

By analyzing high-bandwidth signals captured with 24-bit ADC and 192 khz sampling rates, Samir Zutshi and Robinson Levin intend to utilize the hidden world of sound, psychoacoustics, and perceptual phenomena. Of particular interest is the difference in SPL between standard bit-rate delivery systems and high-bandwidth systems. It also includes an analysis of envelope characteristics and transient changes of high-bandwidth signals. This research will incorporate brain imaging technology to accurately monitor subtle changes and patterns in the brain while listening to high-bandwidth audio. The research is advised by Dan Foley in association with Prism Sound in England, Karl Helmer of the Harvard Medical School, and Frederick Bianchi of WPI.

iPad + LaunchPad + MAX/MSP =

As long as we remain tethered to our technology via physical gesture, MAGIC will continue to explore the potential of human performance and human bandwidth. Interface design and theory has been at the center of many of MAGIC's most innovative and creative projects.  MAGIC's most recent interface project is an iPad controller for real time interaction with a 24 audio speaker sound installation.

Music and Multitasking

Lisa Rossi is exploring our ability to perform multiple tasks while engaged in listening to various kinds of music. Lisa is utilizing sophisticated eye-tracking devices to monitor the degree to which people stay on track while executing specific tasks. This research is particularily relevant to applications in music where users are multitasking and assuming more performance responsibilities that challenge human bandwidth, such as Virtual Orchestra performance.

Santa Fe Complex, New Mexico

TheSanta Fe Complex encourages collaborations across art, science, and technology. Through the Complex, WPI offers research and creative opportunities that bring together artists and scientists from around the world who are dedicated to technological issues that address real-world problems, enable social cooperation, and create economic opportunities. For information on research and project opportunities contact Fabio Carrera.


Spem in Alium and the Virtual Choir

A motet in 40 parts by Thomas Tallis (circa 1570)

Through the integration of live singers with a real time Virtual Choir, the Thomas Tallis masterpiece, Spem in Alium comes alive at St. Pancras in London, England. During the summer of 2011, John Delorey will conduct the Spem installation in performances that feature a Virtual Choir in an extraordinary 40-speaker surround sound texture. The Virtual Choir is a tempo and nuance sensitive technology developed by Frederick Bianchi at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. See more....

Cool Guitar Controller!

Music notation is constantly changing and evolving. Pat DeSantis, James Montgomery, and Sean Levesque investigate the possible fusion of recent technological advances with traditional music notation. This IQP produced a hardware and software suite which serves as a sophisticated interface for learning to play the guitar and interacting with audio and sound environments. The suite is composed of a physical controller designed like a real guitar and a software application with strong visual aids and positive reinforcement through interactive game mechanics. See more....

Virtual Wind Section

An interactive virtual orchestra sound installation at the EcoTarium Science Museum. Wind Section allows participants to create real time jazz by simply blowing air towards the instruments. A simple puff of air at the instrument creates a nicely improvised jazz figure. A stronger puff of air gradually turns the improvised figure into some really 'hot' sounding jazz. When all of the instruments start playing together, along with the steady rhythm section, .....beautiful music results! See more.......

the Virtual Orchestra Enhances Chorus Rehearsals

Creative research has been undertaken to explore the use of orchestral simulation with a live chorus. The research, led by Jarrod  Ratcliffe, focuses on the feasibility of using a Virtual Orchestra to enhance the preparation of chorus repertoire that involves large orchestral forces and unique instrumental ensembles. In the current project, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana is rehearsed and performed at the American Choir Director's Association Conference.

Venice, Italy

A PostModern/PostMortem

Designed to elevate awareness to the social, economic, and artistic dilemmas that face Venice in the 21st Century, the PostModern/PostMortem includes over twenty outdoor interactive media installations scattered throughout Venice.  The Post Modern/Post Mortem is a response to 20 years of research carried out by WPI targeting the crumbling infrastructure of Venice.  This includes canal erosion, the exodus of the native population, the decline in retail business, and the deterioration of public art. The goal is to create interactive technologies that will integrate into the public landscape of Venice and become an urban “youth expression toolkit” capable of unleashing the creativity of the younger generations. For more insight, visit the Venice blog…..

The University Lecture

Professor Frederick Bianchi delivers the second annual distinguished University Lecture. “The Virtual Orchestra: In Search of Human Bandwidth” explored the history, technology, philosophy, and future of this sophisticated interactive performance technology. The evening included musical selections from the Puccini opera La Boheme and Mozart’s Figaro, sung by soprano Margaret Tartaglia. The first University Lecture was delivered by Dean Kamen.

Interactive Media and Game Development

Guest Speaker Series

The Interactive Media and Game Development (IMGD) Guest Speaker Series is a weekly lecture and discussion on topics of interest to IMGD.  The sessions are open to the public and available via webcast. Read more...

Human Interaction in Virtual Environments

Exploring the edge of interactivity, the TactaVest is an upper-body garment that has 16 pager motors (a.k.a. tactors) distributed at potential points of contact, such as the elbows, shoulders, and back. The intensity level of each tactor can be controlled independently over 200 levels of vibration. The TactaVest communicates with the rendering computer using Bluetooth. Read more about the HIVE labs … 


Urban Sound Design Project

The USDP is aimed at establishing a worldwide network of intelligent audio playback devices deployed in urban spaces and communicating locally and globally over wireless Internet. The goal of the project is to create a network of dedicated audio devices capable of sensing, analyzing, sharing, and sonifying real time data for the purpose of sound designing and sonically transforming urban spaces. Read more..... 

A Subvocal Musical Interface

The TERC (tuned electromagnetic resonator collar) is a non-acoustic speech sensor designed for use in a low-bit-rate speech encoding system. The overall goal of the ongoing project is to develop technologies to achieve low-bit-rate speech encoding (300 bits per second) with acceptable intelligibility in acoustically harsh environments. A key focus of the project is the use of noise-immune sensors in addition to microphone sensors to improve the intelligibility of the encoded speech in high-noise environments.

The TERC sensor detects glottal activity that occurs during voiced speech by establishing a low-power electromagnetic field through the larynx and detecting the small changes in this field that are induced by movement of the vocal folds. Subvocal activity can be detected and is being explored as a real-time performer interface for digital music instruments and virtual orchestras. For more information, visit the Signal Processing and Information Networking Laboratory (SPINLAB)......

The Digital Choral Book

Development is underway on a prototype Digital Choral Book designed to store and display thousands of downloaded music notation files. The lightweight, low power, high resolution, and high capacity storage device is intended to replace traditional ‘print music’ for the choir. Future development on the Digital Choir Book calls for intelligent algorithms aimed at enhancing rehearsal and performance strategies.

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Last modified: November 04, 2010 14:03:21