Pads Let Musicians Feel Music Through Their Skin As They Compose
Touché uses a composition interface to record patterns of vibrations and temperature pulses
Designer and engineer Marie Tricaud, who studied Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, has developed a tool that lets you see how your skin reacts to a tactile composition. Touché is an instrument made of seven pads, which can be mapped in any combination to create a network of pulses on your body.
Touché offers a creative tool for performers and listeners to artistically explore the sense of touch. Vibration loops and temperature melodies are sent down your spine, with each pad containing a motor that enables the intensity and frequency to be tweaked. They also feature a temperature element so different elements of the music can be translated to skin sensation, such as the melody and beat. The pads are all independent, so different combinations can be mapped onto the skin.
Color codes enable the performer to indicate the way their composition should be experienced, but members of the audience are also free to explore for themselves. The current working prototype uses wires but the pads would eventually communicate wirelessly.
Touché can be played live through an interface that allows the composition to be controlled, recorded and edited from music software Ableton, making it easy to synchronize the tactile track to the music. Any MIDI keyboard can also be plugged in to control the tactile pads.
The pads have great potential for creating live musical experiences. Lots of haptic perceptions can be explored, and sensors could be integrated into the device to capture data such as the heart rate or body temperature of the audience and feed it back to the performer.
You can check out Touché in the video below.
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Ayah is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun. Using step-by-step instructions, littleBits offers easy to follow DIY electronics kits consisting of tiny circuit boards engineered to be combined in order to perform custom functions. Named as one of CNN’s Top 10 Emerging Startups to Watch, littleBits won Ayah a spot on Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People and Popular Mechanic’s 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream. She is also an alumna of MIT Media Lab and a TED Senior Fellow.