Sensor Use in NIME



John Sullivan


In this project, we have explored the sensor use in new interfaces for musical expression – typical DIY realm – as manifested in the NIME Conference (New Interfaces for Musical Expression).

For this, we used several R tools for social network analysis (SNA). My dataset consists of 266 conference papers published between 2009 and 2013, roughly all papers that deploy at least one type of sensing in this time period.

“Although it has been claimed that specifications for artistic tools are harder than those for military applications, this study raises a paradox showing that in most of the cases, DMIs (Digital Musical Instruments) are based on a few basic sensors types and unsophisticated engineering solutions, not taking advantage of more advanced sensing, instrumentation and signal processing techniques that could dramatically improve their response. We aim to raise awareness of limitations of some DIY solutions and to assert the benefits of advanced electronics instrumentation design in DMIs. For this, we propose the use of specialized sensors such as strain gages, advanced conditioning circuits and signal processing tools such as sensor fusion. We believe that careful electronic instrumentation design may lead to more responsive instruments.”

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