Interactive Bed that Plays Music

Have you ever imagined of lying down on a bed and when you move, your body creates music? Yes, apparently this is something that can happen and can also have dreams involved. Curious enough?

We got this interesting project by a young Spanish Artist, Violeta McGuire who likes to create experiences about movement, sound and the synchronisation between the two.

The project MUSIC BY EVERYONE is the one in which she is creating new instruments with everyday objects that can be played by everyone, even unintentionally.

With a background in music, Violeta studied Interaction and Moving Image at Central Saint Martins, London, where she became fascinated by new technologies, decided to use them to link sound and movement, and discovered the Bare Conductive Touch Board.

Violeta likes to involve the audience in her pieces, many times using new technology and MIDI sounds and for this project, she found that the Touch Board was just the perfect tool.

‘Dance of Your Dreams’ is the last project she developed. It consists of a bed with sensors, that detect your positions while you sleep, and translates them into a series of chords that create a composition at the end.

Violeta says that while we sleep we do a dance of positions. This bed puts music to that dance through sensors, so each position is a chord.

At the end of the night you will have a chord for each position you made, and putting them all together you will be able to see and listen to ‘The Dance of your Dreams’.

This project was developed for the exhibition ‘Art Spaceship’ powered by Flecha, at ABC Serrano, Madrid, and it was exhibited for a month.

It was really interesting to see how people reacted to the piece. Most of the times, they didn’t understand and just laid on the bed, and burst into laughter when they heard the sound. Whilst others really tried to compose with it and recorded it. Or there was even this guy that actually fell asleep in the gallery using it!

There are 16 sensors inside the mattress and the pillow. These are connected to an Arduino that reads the values of the sensors, and then takes this information to the Touch Board through an Arduino code, that translates this information into MIDI sounds and plays them through some speakers.

Violeta says that the Touch Board has just made it so much easier for her to make the projects work. Before she had to use external synthesisers and a way more complicated code. She’s already working on another project using the Touch Board.

She’s also made other projects like the ”Triplette Playsuit”, three connected suits that have sensors in, so the music plays to your movements, instead of you moving/dancing to the music. Its meant to be used by three people at the same time that have to coordinate their movements to create the piece. Exhibited at Central Saint Martins Degree Show, and then adapted to a song by Metronomy for the launching party of their new album: “Summer 08”. at Sonos Studio, London, UK.

Also ”The Singing Banister”, consisting on a bannister that plays different notes sang by a chorus depending on where you touch it. This one was exhibited in ”The Delete Show” at 71A Gallery, London, Uk. People didn’t know the staircase bannister was a piece, so they were playing compositions many times unintentionally.

Violeta is working on more interactive projects, so stay tuned for more details.

Images & Video: Violeta McGuire

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