fMRI-Compatible Cello

Participants: Avrum Hollinger
Marcelo M. Wanderley (supervisor)
Christopher Steele
Virginia Penhune (Concordia University)
Robert Zatorre (Montreal Neurological Institute)

MR-compatible cello
Funding: Concordia University (Penhune)
Canadian Foundation for Innovation (Zatorre & Wanderley)
NSERC Discovery Grant (Wanderley)
CIRMMT student funds (Hollinger) 2007-2008

Project Type: Collaborative project (CIRMMT, BRAMS - Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound).

Time Period: 2006– Status: Ongoing

Project Description

This project focuses on the development of an MR-compatible cello interface that can be used inside MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanners. The optically-sensed electro-acoustic cello allows neuroscientists studying motor learning of musical tasks to perform functional scans of a subject's brain while synchronizing the scanner, auditory and visual stimuli, and auditory feedback with the cellists instrumental gestures, such as fingering, bow speed, and bow pressure.

Optical sensing of cello finger movement


  • A. Hollinger and M. M. Wanderley. “MRI-Compatible Optically-Sensed Cello.” In Proc. of IEEE SENSORS 2013 Conference, 2013. Awarded “Best Student Paper, Overall.”