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Touchy Feely Music


The music industry is poised for a revolution if a self-employed design consultant from London can get his innovative touch-screen technology off the ground. NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) – the organisation that nurtures UK creativity and innovation - has invested £100,000 in the idea to help turn it into a commercial reality.

Experts predict that some day, all music machines will be controlled by touchscreen. Andrew is hoping to bring that day nearer with his technology, which enables the characteristics of a particular note, sound or music track to be controlled by pressing a finger on the screen.

His system uses high speed electronic sensing and pattern-recognition technology to track and gather information about fingers as they touch a surface.

What’s innovative about Andrew’s approach is that it can determine the nature of multiple simultaneous touches on a screen. The touchscreen system uses additional information that it captures about these touches to control functions such as volume – the harder you hit the screen, the louder the volume of a note, sound or music track.

Andrew aims to give consumers the chance to use their fingers to touch and directly interact with computer graphics, transforming the way the PC is used.

He says: “Music is becoming ever more dehumanised. My touchscreen enables the interface to be more personal, more intuitive. It opens up bigger channels of communication between the user and the computer.”

With NESTA’s support, Andrew will work towards commercialising his product, currently at prototype stage, and aim it initially at production studios and the DJ sector, where performance is reliant upon interacting rapidly with sound functions whilst performing live to thousands of people.

Mark White, NESTA Invention and Innovation Director, said: “Andrew’s product is unlike anything currently available and has the potential to make quite an impact on a music industry which is going through a technological revolution, with the greater use of the computers in the recording studio. We hope our investment goes a long way in helping Andrew realise his dream and to get his idea onto the market.”

Joseph Meaney | alfa
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