Imogen Heap Demos Her MIDI Gloves

In this video interview, musician Imogen Heap demonstrates her MIDI gloves, which are being developed for production as a Kickstarter project. The interview was filmed at Heap’s home studio outside London.

“These beautiful gloves help me gesturally interact with my computer,” says Heap.

Pushing buttons and twiddling dials “is not very exciting for me or the audience,” she adds. “Now I can make music on the move, in the flow and more humanly, and more naturally engage with my computer software and technology.”

Imogen Heap’s Mi.Mu Glove for Music

imogen-heap-midi-gloveEach gesture-control glove contains a WiFi-enabled x-IMU board, developed by x-IO Technologies, containing an accelerometer, a magnetometer and a gyroscope. These work together with a series of motion sensors, incorporated into the fingers of each glove, that track the degree of bend and the spread of the fingers.

The gloves can also understand postures such as an open palm, a finger-point or a closed fist.

The latest version of the gloves feature e-textile technology, where sensors and wiring are integrated into fabric. Heap is now exploring how to make further use of electronically conducting textiles, to reduce the number of hard components in the gloves.

Heap’s Kickstarter campaign aims to raise £200,000 to develop and produce a limited production run of Mi.Mu gloves. If successful, she will make both the hardware and software open source, allowing people to develop their own uses for the technology. See the project site for details.


18 thoughts on “Imogen Heap Demos Her MIDI Gloves

  1. What happens if your nose starts to itch during a performance? How do you avoid looking like a nazi when raising fader levels? Pretty exciting situations for the audience, i’m sure.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1
  2. I definitely love Imogen Heap… She’s a great artist and a real geek;
    she’s actually the real definition of “Music Geek” ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3
  3. i like the project. i like the musician. i like the professional make of the video.

    i do not like the fact that this video is sponsored by a car manufacturer. this is a music forum, not a forum for commercialized lifestyle. may we be safe here from coca cola, starbucks and other big names trying to buy themselves into a world that is not theirs.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 14
    • Get over it. There are adds on this website that have nothing to do with music. It’s the reality of being a professional musician today.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9
    • The fact that big organizations can sponsor events or people like this is the reason we have such high standards in the Western world. You wouldn’t have a market full of amazing synthesizers, computers, gadgets, or even the automobile, if it weren’t for big PRIVATE businesses pushing the envelope in innovative ways. A small organization or individual just doesn’t have the same access to resources (i.e. customer base).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  4. Great idea, but the music is rather disappointingly banal?

    And the advert at the end is not cool. Just because advertsing is ever-present doesn’t mean that we should accept it all the time in all places.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 8
  5. when she first announced these it seemed gimmicky. but she seems to be really putting a lot of effort into them . kudos great job. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! can’t wait to see where they go

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  6. I am sorry but what is the big deal about this. Any self respecting media artist has worked or at least knows of them. I am not mwntioning that some even designed similar kind of gloves. Check out the gloves designed and sold by icubex.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  7. Watched a few new technologies on here but this is by far the best. A great idea that I cud easily see the likes of Kraftwerk performing with…well done

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  8. There is no doubt this is the future. I’m not really familiar with her work outside of seeing a couple of earlier demos of this technology, but she is definitely on to something here. It seems like there are going to be quite a few kinks to work out, but I can’t see how anyone can dispute the inherent potential for musical expressivity which the freedom of gesturing in 3D space implies. This is an interesting step forward in the potential merging of musicianship and dance.

    I am really curious to see where this goes, and applaud her efforts. Of course there are commercial outfits working on this same technology, so I am also wondering how the interplay between open source and commercial efforts will interact with this kind of technology.

    I also liked the simplicity and homeliness of her studio (not that we were able to see all of it). Very unpretentious. Want to see more geeky women on here!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  9. This is very similar to the Hot Hand from Source Audio, which went into production back in 2006.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  10. this is awesome. Great introduction to Imogen, at least for me. Another artist to check out is Onyx Ashanti. Similar philosophy but using PureData to fcreate his own sound designs (part of his own evolution). Started following him years ago, interesting to see where all of this is going.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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