Lie detecting musical instrument

// November 25th, 2009 // Physical Computing

lie detector

I had been struggling with indecision in regards to my final project for physical computing. This struggle led to combining a few of the ideas I had. ┬áNamely a social game involving lie detectors and the social instrument I created for my first assignment. I recently ordered a lie detector kit from madlab to test out. The way that it works is to calibrate the device to the galvanic skin response of the user (detecting how much resistance is created by introducing the user into the circuit), and then detecting changes in resistance to determine if the person begins to sweat. Given the assumptions this technique relies on, it is by no means accurate. So instead of using the device for it’s intended purpose I am instead going to use it for what the device actually senses.

The project is going to be a musical interface that senses changes in the body and uses them to manipulate the performance. The transition to this idea is a reflection on the thought that there are many similarities in the way the body responds to lying and the pressure of performing. I want to use these responses in a way to constrain a musical performance. I find the thought interesting that an instrument can have both elements that you have control over and also ones that you don’t (I say that loosely to illustrate the point). In that regard, I plan on using the drawing relationships such sweating/temperature to volume and pulse to tempo. This creates an interesting dynamic between the performer and their instrument. As performance is something that already can illicit a sense of nervousness for many performers, users of this device will have be even more self aware to avoid the outcomes that may make them nervous in the first place.

Next, I am considering if there are any other sensors I would like to incorporate and start to build the controller that would house these sensors. For now I am going with something in the realm of a glove, but that may change as I work further through some of these ideas. More updates to follow.

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