Pads Let Musicians Feel Music Through Their Skin As They Compose

Pads Let Musicians Feel Music Through Their Skin As They Compose
Arts & Culture

Touché uses a composition interface to record patterns of vibrations and temperature pulses

Emma Hutchings
  • 7 july 2017

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.

Marie Tricaud

+arts & culture
+Marie Tricaud
+Royal College of Art London

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