Why I am stuck on this idea? I cannot really say, but those of you who know me know that I have been motion tracking essentially all my life. I made my first dance with electronics in 1973 when I was still in high school. I met Frieder Weiss in 1995 and the computer age dawned on dance! We brought interactive dance to a whole new level.
10 years ago a young Spanish researcher named Alicia Peñalba approached me at a motion tracking conference with the idea to use motion tracking with persons with cerebral palsy (she is now a professor at Valladolid University and one of the MC3’s beta-testers). But the genesis of the MotionComposer, I would have to say, came as I was in Weimar, Germany, wondering what to do with the rest of my life. “Ping” a light bulb went on over my head: make a device to make motion tracking something that everyone can do; in fact, build it especially for persons with other abilities. This was October 2010. Together, with Josepha Dietz (co-CEO of MC gmbh) and the composer Marc Sauter, the MotionComposer project was born.
Yes, its been 9 years from inception to market release this Fall. Is that long? I’ve no idea. This is my first product! I will say it has been an interesting journey. We’ve made over 100 workshops with persons with other abilities, 16 trade fairs (all terribly boring) and too many presentations to count.
There has been years of painstaking engineering, mostly concerning a technology called “passive stereo vision”. Designers, musicians, composers, dancers, marketing experts, and many more people have worked behind the scenes. The sound samples for the musical environments — hundreds in all — had to be collected and prepared. Picture me standing in the early morning fog in front of a sheep, holding out my microphone and begging, “Speak. Please speak…”. She looks at me. I look at her. Neither of us is sure what to do next. The ducks looked at me like I was insulting their intelligence. “Of course I won’t quack for you. Why should I?” And then there were the cats, don’t get me started… But now we are almost there and I can hardly wait.
Whenever I tell someone what we are working on, they say, “Wow, what a cool project!”. Yes, I have to admit, it is a very cool project. Its fun, and we can have a profound impact on a lot good people’s lives, pushing the boundaries of inclusion and unlocking creative expression.