Development and implementation of a vibrotactile click track to assist contemporary music conducting



John Sullivan

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Patrick Ignoto

Publication or Conference Title:

M.A. Thesis, McGill University


This thesis presents the development and implementation of a novel vibrotactile click track system created for use with the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME), designed in close collaboration with the CME conductor, Prof. Guillaume Bourgogne. Using common HCI techniques, requirements were gathered to better understand how the system should work. These requirements described the need for a system that is different from previous works in haptic click tracks, because it uses a continuous waveform to present the tempo, rather than a discrete series of buzzes. In addition, the system required using existing audio click tracks of pieces in the contemporary repertoire, and presenting them as hap- tic information instead. Using an iterative design process, prototypes of this system were created and Prof. Bourgogne’s comments were used to refine the system to meet all his requirements. The system was designed using the Vibropixels, a wireless, modular tactile display system developed at the IDMIL. Software and firmware were written to interact with the Vibropixels, display the haptic pulses in the way envisioned by the user, and convert existing audio click tracks to this system. The system was evaluated to determine if the requirements were met by measuring vibrations with an oscilloscope, measuring the computational and wireless latency, and by interviewing performers using the system. Re- sults show that the system met the requirements collected, and preparations are underway to use it in a concert setting.

Publication Details:

Masters Thesis
Montreal, Canada

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