Elektrode system offer

Robert Wechsler (r.wechsler@rzmail.uni-erlangen.de)
Tue, 13 Oct 1998 13:14:48 +0200

Hi Group,

A number of you have asked for copies of our touchline software (allows
movements to trigger MIDI events) -- and I have sent some out. The problem
is (as those few know) you need some pretty special (and not cheap)
equipment, not to mention programming know-how to actually install it and
put it into use.

I was just thinking...

The electrode system we use may be much easier to share (sell, market, or
just pass around). Although it also requires some certain hardware (special
amplifiers and a midi converter) and software, we believe we could put
together a "kit" which would let you actually use the system with any MIDI
input devise (this includes most theater lighting boards today). No special
training or knowledge of computers etc. would is required. The kit would
include everything you need to wire up a dancer or a member of the public to
give them "muscle-control" over lighting, music or sampled text.

I mean, we -- all who are developing these things -- probably think from
time to time, "this is so cool, there must be a market for this stuff!", and
then we think again, "on the hand, who in the world would buy such a thing.
Only dance-tech people, ie. people who are as crazy as we are! and how of
those really are there...", and then we sort of table the idea.

So this letter is a kind of feeler to see if there really is any demand out
there. Anyone who would even pay for the costs of building such a kit.

So, Question:

Would anyone be interested having one of these kits? What if we asked for
$100? The kit includes:
1. Windows-based software to control signals of up to 10 electrode sets.
2. 1 electrode set amplifier (a body-worn box somewhat smaller than a
cigarette box)
3. A MIDI converter
4. Cable and electrode clips
5. 12 disposable electrodes (more are available from any good surgical
supply company)
6. Instructions

The output is standard MIDI. The program runs on windows, but to use it,
you need a computer sound board with a MIDI input. Alternatively, you could
run the output signal directly into your MIDI compatible device. In this
case, you can still set certain parameters with hardware controllers. (The
software route has the advantage of allowing easy calibration of the muscle
signals as well as control of range, sensitivity, channel and patch selection.)

We've used electrodes on forearms, biceps, triceps, thigh, calf, stomach,
back and, the muscle with the strongest electrical signal in the body, the
heart. All with effective results (different muscle groups have different
characteristics). Our last piece (premiered last week) six audience members
each controlled one channel of a composed score (played by a sequencer). Two
of the six, additionally, steered the stage lighting. We, then danced a
structured improv. with their input (both the electrical and movement kind).

Robert Wechsler

Robert Wechsler and Helena Zwiauer Phone: (49) 911-397472
Palindrome Intermedia Performance Group Fax: (49) 911-397472
Johannisstr. 42
90419 Nčrnberg