The Rib and the Visor

Participants: Joseph Malloch
Ian Hattwick
Anthony Picciachia (research assistant)
Marcelo M. Wanderley (supervisor)

The Spine Digital Musical Instrument. Photograph by Vanessa Yaremchuk.
Funding: FQRSC (S. Ferguson, M. Wanderley)

Project Type: Research-creation project.

Time Period: Fall 2011 - Spring 2013. Status: ongoing.

Project Description

The Rib and the Visor are “prosthetic” digital musical instruments developed for the project Les Gestes, in which we endeavoured to design new instruments for dancers extrapolating from the T-Stick used in the performance Duo pour un violoncelle et un danseur. Starting with concept prototypes built using corrugated plastic, the Rib, the Visor and their companion instrument the Spine were developed iteratively using participatory design through frequent workshops, parallel problem solving, and digital fabrication methods. The current models are fabricated from laser-cut transparent acrylic and polycarbonate, and 3D-printed thermoplastics. They are designed to be easily attached to the dancers' costumes using additional 3d-printed mounts.

The Ribs and Visors track and report 3-axis acceleration and touch data in real-time, accomplished using MiniBee Sensor Nodes and capacitive sensing using transparent conductive materials.


A promotional video for the Gestes performances including shots of the Ribs and Visors in rehearsal: