a device for otherly-abled persons including artists

We Make You Move

What is MotionComposer?
about-brooklyn

About MotionComposer

“With interactive technology we gain completely new motivational impulses and are opening up whole new modes of therapy.“ Dr. Paolo Moretti

Nietzsche said, we hear music with our muscles. Anyone who has ever danced to music knows what he meant: our senses overlap. This phenomenon, what psychologists call synaesthesia, is at the heart of our project. Dance and music come from the same place inside us. It is as universal as it is life-affirming.

The MotionComposer is a device that turns movement into music. It is designed for persons with different abilities, including those with cerebral palsy, aphasia, autism, quadriplegia, blindness, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. It is for small children, senior citizens and everyone in between. The blink of an eye is enough to play a note!

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"I believe this technology has important potentiality in the field of rehabilitation both for improving environment interaction in severe disabilities and for movement control in paretic, dystonic and dyskinetic syndromes… The overall experience was very interesting, stimulating and challenging for all of our team, as well as engaging and quite pleasant for the children and their families."
Dr. Paolo Moretti Head Physician of the Rehabilitation Department Children’s Hospital Giannina Gaslini, Genova
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How It Works

"There is nothing more essential to being human than music and dance. We’ve been doing it for 60 000 years. Children do it without any instruction whatsoever; it is literally inside all of us."
Robert Wechsler - founder, MotionComposer Project

The MotionComposer uses stereo-vision technology; with two video cameras, the MC can identify the human form, as we do with our two eyes.  Expressive gestures, shapes and movements are then interpreted by motion tracking software and finally converted into musical sounds.

Beginning in 2011, and with support from the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany, the MC team has been seeking support for the claim that interactive digital movement-to-music technologies can play a role in affording dance and music engagement among highly diverse users, including those with severe physical or mental conditions. Early results have been reported upon in professional settings, including the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, the Conference on the Multimodal Experience of Music and others.

We expect to release the MotionComposer3.0 early in 2019. In the meantime, we give workshops for therapists, artists and persons with other abilities. They tell us, “Don’t build a tool for us, build it with us.” Good point! Since 2010, we have held 50 workshops in 7 countries and worked with over 500 persons with other abilities. We believe we are on our way to building a tool that can make a difference in the quality of life for people all over the world.

Choreographer and MotionComposer founder, Robert Wechsler, talks about the idea behind the device.

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Projects

Motion activation through music generation using 3D scanning (3D MUSIC)
Dancing with Motioncomposer
“Gesturality and Technology: Restricting or Expanding”
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Workshop for Therapists
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Press and Publications

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Grants
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Publications
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Our Team

We believe that differently-abled teams can be more creative

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Robert Wechsler

Artistic Director

Inventor of the MotionComposer, Robert is a choreographer and dancer and was an early experimenter with interactive technology. Co-founder of the Palindrome Dance Company, he holds an MA in choreography from New York University and was a protégé of Merce Cunningham and John Cage. He was a Fulbright fellow and, together with Palindrome, won first prize at the Berlin Transmediale for “best interactive art” in 2002. He has written articles on dance and technology and is co-author of the book, “Assistive Technologies, Disability Informatics and Computer Access for Motor Limitations”. Robert lives in Weimar, Germany where he directs the MotionComposer project.

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Josepha Dietz

Marketing Coordinator and Workshop Leader

Josepha has an MA in Media Management from Bauhaus University with a specialization in marketing and finance. She was coordinator of the Dresden Innovation Fund for Art and Media Technology at the Trans-Media-Academy (TMA) before co-founding MotionComposer in 2011. She has led numerous workshop for persons with and without disabilities all over Europe concerning movement, theater, expressivity and the use of new technology. In addition to her work with MC, she is currently leading the Children and Youth School of Arts Neubrandenburg.

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Mathias Reinhardt

Strategy Manager

Mathias is the co-founder of Palindrome e.V. a dance company dedicated to exploring intersections of technology and art. He holds an International Business and Administration degree. He is producer of major art and event projects in the realm of sound arts, including wave field synthesis, at Kraftwerk/Zapata in Stuttgart, Germany, as well as pioneering concepts for interactive video, M&S, and in the field of health. He is active in the field of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) victim support and therapy and is founder of Catania GmbH, a part of Zentrum Überleben (Center for Survivors) in Berlin developing innovative internet-based therapy concepts for victims.

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Ekmel Ertan

Development Director

Ekmel Ertan works as artist, curator and educator. Ertan is the founder and artistic director of İstanbul based amberPlatform (BIS, Beden-İşlemsel Sanatlar Derneği /Body-Process Arts Association), which is a research and production platform on art and new technologies. Ertan is the artistic director of the international “amber Art and Technology Festival” in Istanbul since 2007. He curated international amberPlatform exhibitions and events and several others as an independent curator. Ertan is also working as the site coordinator and director of international projects based in Turkey and Europe in the conjunction of art and technology /new media and society.

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Delphine Lavau

Project Coordinator

Delphine is a cultural manager with a background in sociology and a master degree in political science. With 14-years experience in production, communication and public relations, she has worked for music, dance and digital arts festivals, in France and around the world. She has prepared studies and statistical analysis for cultural institutions in France including benchmarking studies, research outreach strategies. Delphine is vice-President of the Palindrome e.V. where she coordinates projects and handle the administration of the company.

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Annika Dörr

Workshop Leader

Annika is a freelance dancer. 2012 Annika graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Theatre Arts from London Studio Centre (University of the Arts, London) with specialization in Contemporary Dance. Since then, Annika has worked with several independent choreographers and dance companies from all over Europe, including The Typewriters and Palindrome Dance Company. She has been part of the MotionComposer team since 2013, leading workshops and performing in inclusive events.

Composers

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Marcello Lussana

``Techno`` Environment

Marcello Lussana is a composer, a software engineer and free thinker specialized in interactive systems. Focal point of his work is the interaction between music and human movement. He produces computer music for audio-visual Performances, Dance, Theater and Live Electronics. Since 2008 he lives in Berlin and produces computer music for audio-visual Performances, Dance, Theater and Live Electronics. In July 2016 he became a PhD candidate at the Humboldt university in Berlin on the subject of interactive music and consciousness with the professors Jin-Hyun Kim (Humboldt University Berlin) and Alberto de Campo (University of Arts Berlin).

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Andrea Cera

``Drums`` Environment

Andrea is an electronic musician, composer and sound designer. He studied Piano and Compostion at Conservatorio di Padova in Italy and Electronic Music at Cursus Annuel de Composition et Informatique Musicale IRCAM. He has produced music for choreographers such as Hervé Robbe, Edmond Russo, Shlomi Tuizer and J.C.Maillot. He is the creator of several audio art works for numerous large-scale projects around Europe including Innig, D-Day (Centre Georges Pompidou), NightRun and Reactive Ambient Music for the Fresnoy in Tourcoing. He has collaborated on research projects with IRCAM, Native Instruments, Renault and Notam.

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Andreas Bergsland

``Particles`` Environment

Andreas Bergsland is an associate professor of music technology at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). His research interests include voice in electroacoustic music, live-electronics from a performative perspective and movement-sound interaction for users with and without disabilities. He has created sound designs for exhibitions, installations, large scale multi-media events, in addition to live-electronics performances and working with computer instrument design for motion capture systems. In recent years, he has co-created dance works with choreographer Robert Wechsler for performances in Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Greece, Italy, Canada and the US. He has written extensively about electroacoustic music including a number of papers concerning the interactive movement-music systems for persons with other abilities. Together with the MotionComposer team he received a special recognition award from the 2016 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition.

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Giacomo Lepri

``Fields`` Environment

Giacomo is a musician and sound designer. He studied piano and percussion specializing in the Afro-Cuban and Brazilian tradition as well as in Afro-American jazz practice. He was a visiting student at the University of Edinburgh and is a graduate in Electronic Music from the Conservatory of Genoa “N. Paganini”. His artistic activities particularly concern the sense of performativity and free improvisation. He currently works as sound designer in the international centre of research InfoMus Lab – Casa Paganini (University of Genoa) where he carries out scientific and artistic research focusing on the development of multimedia systems, multimodal human-computer interfaces and applications.

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Ives Schachtschabel

``Tonality`` Environment

Ives took over programming the Tonality patch from the French composer Adrien Garcia — thus this is really the work of two people. Ives is a composer, musician and software engineer. He studies media art and electroacoustic composition at the SeaM/Bauhaus University Weimar in Germany. His interests ranges from algorithmic music and sonification to audio installation and sound design in general. His current work involves insect-controlled composition systems and he holds lectures and workshops for audio programming. He works in collaboration with several artists and is the cofounder of Hausdorf – a collective, netlabel and platform for experimental sound art.

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Jacob Korn

``Techno`` Environment

Besides his profession on the interface of audio, visual and dance, Jacob Korn has produced electronic music for what seems like an eternity. Early in his career he combined Hip Hop and Techno with elements of Jazz and weird electronics under the moniker Granufunk. Under his civil name he is focuses classic but versatile Techno and House. His work appears on the Running Back, Skylax and Permanent Vacation labels. After a brilliant first release on Steffi’s Dolly Label, the highly acclaimed ‘Supakrank’ and of course Uncanny Valley, he now belongs to the spearheads of German house. He has played live pretty much everywhere: In the USA, in Chile or Japan, in European Techno strongholds such as London, Barcelona or Rome and of course in all the good clubs in Germany. Jacob has been part of the MotionComposer team since 2016.

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Peter Breitenbach

``Fields`` Environment

Peter is a sound artist, composer and sound designer whose work traverses sound installation, performative sound art, composition and sound for theatre. In his installations and performances he is investigating the relationship of movement and sound, through the development of software and hardware as part of sculptural objects and instruments. He studied Music Design at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Trossingen and Music Technology at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. His work was shown in many festivals and exhibitions in Europe and Asia including at CCCB and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona, Ryogoku Monten Hall in Tokyo, at Museum Biedermann in Donaueschingen and at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe (ZKM). He is the creator of sound designs, sound environments and sound installations for theater, including the group Rimini Protokoll.

Our Consultants
  • Klaus Nicolai – Consultant for Development
  • Jens Geelhaar – Consultant
  • Giselher Grenzdoerfer – Constultant
  • Frieder Weiß – Consultant for Motion Tracking Technology
  • Dr. Paolo Moretti – Consultant for Therapeutic Application
Supporting Composers
  • Marc Sauter
  • Pablo Palacio
  • Adrien Garcia

… and special thanks to our otherly-abled colleagues and their dedicated care-takers, therapists and educators.

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Project Owner
MotionComposer GmbH
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Collaborating Partners
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faq

FAQ

Frequently -and not so frequently- Asked Questions

Purchasing

How can I buy a MotionComposer? 

At the moment, we are between versions. The MC3 is scheduled for release in 2019. Meanwhile we have stopped selling the MC2.

For now, your options are:

Get on our mailing list
and we will tell you when and where you can get an  MC3.0!  Contact Us.

See a Demonstration

We regularly present demonstrations at conferences, trade fairs, and institutions. See the link to News

We can also come to your institution. Contact us for details.

Order a Workshop
Workshops are an excellent way to get to know the MotionComposer and its possibilities for use. See the section on workshops.

Rent an MC2.0
We rent out the MC2 for research and testing purposes. Contact us for details.

How much does it (will it) cost?

We have not yet fixed the price of the MC3.0.

 

Does (will) the MC come with warrantee and service?

Yes.  If you have problems or questions at any time, we are here to help. We want everyone to have a great experience.

Use

How do you play the MotionComposer?

1)   Turn it on.
2)   Select the music you want from the tablet-controller.
3)   Move your body.

You will hear your movements as music!

Its that simple.

Can anyone play it?  

Yes, anyone.  If you can move some part of your body, if only your eyes, then you can create music with the MotionComposer.  There are settings to allow different body parts and different levels of activity to be used.

What are Musical Environments?

The MotionComposer offers six Musical Environments. Each has a different style of music, but it is more than that.  They also offer different mappings, or ways of playing the music. There is something for everyone — both in terms of ability and taste in music.

How is MotionComposer used in therapy? 

Since there are many kinds of therapy, and many abilities, there is no quick answer to this question. We have made over 50 workshops in hospitals, hospice care centers, memory units, school for hearing impaired, special education schools, live-in care centers, and so on.  We have also made inclusive performances with artists with and without disabilities. At each event, we learn. You can read about some of our experiences at publications.

When the MC3 goes on sale, we will have an on-line tutorial, and an on-line users’ forum, so that you can read about one another’s experiences and offer each other tips on using the MotionComposer with different kinds of users.

Finally, a great way to learn about the possibilities is in the form of a workshop.  We offer to come to your facility and teach you how to use the MotionComposer in different settings.

How many people can use the MC at one time?

The MC has 1-Player and 2-Player modes. For example, one person can play one musical instrument, while the second person plays another instrument.

The MC can track many more people than this. The challenge, however, is that it becomes confusing who is doing what!

Having said this, there are ways to use it with groups, everyone dancing together. Methods for doing so will be explained in the on-line tutorial when MC3 goes on sale.

What is the difference between the MC2.0 and MC3.0?

While the MC2 works well — we still use it for our own workshops — the new one is in many ways easier to use.  Also, it has more music.  Some highlights include:

– no more keyboard, screen and mouse, only a small wireless tablet.

– the tablet will have no words — only easy-to-use pictographs.

– more musical instruments, more melodies, more drums, more animals!

– more possibilities for 2-player mode.

– the operator can select between hearing the movements of the therapist, the movements of the patient, or both!

– visual feedback as well as audio — the MC lights up with the sounds!  (this feature can be turned off)

– passive stereo-vision technology. This is a bit technical to explain, but it means that the MC will be more robust in different lighting conditions.  It will even work in theater stage light.

Technology

How does MotionComposer work?

There are two parts to turning movement into music:

Part one is the motion tracking.  Video cameras attached to a computer, analyze expressive shapes, movements and gestures and turn them into computer data.

Part two is called mapping.  This means assigning the different body parts, gestures and movements to musical features, such as the notes of a piano.

But just playing notes is not the same as making music! This is where our composers come in. Using a kind of software called algorithmic composition, users are helped to play musically. For example, when you play a note, the software looks for notes that sound good together. The same is true of the player’s rhythm. If you play a little too early, the software will correct your mistake to keep you on the beat.

If done correctly, the player will have a feeling of hearing their body as music. This is our ultimate goal.

What is Motion Tracking?

The human eye is sensitive to the human form. Even from a distance, we can immediately recognize if someone is there. Even if they are standing still, we can instantly tell people from trees, lamps, chairs and tables. Computers are not nearly so clever. Teaching them to find the human form, and to analyze what it is doing, is what is meant by “motion tracking”.

The underlying technology is based on analyzing differences in light intensity. But if you look around you, you may notice that the lighting can be quite chaotic. There are reflections, shadows and things moving in the background. Even the trees moving out the window might cause unwanted sounds!

The MotionComposer solves this challenge using stereo-vision technology. This means that two cameras, like our eyes, essentially see the world in three dimensions, and this in turn allows our software to locate where the player is and what they are doing. Even persons in wheelchairs can be identified and analyzed according to expressive gestures, shapes and movements.

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MotionComposer

Helping the world to express itself through movement and music!