Data + Design Project

Firewall: Interactive Music with a Spandex Membrane

Tuesday 01.15.2013 , Posted by
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Firewall 1

Firewall is a new and exciting interactive audio/visual experience which uses a piece of stretched spandex as a performance membrane. Working like a big stretchy touch screen, when people push on the fabric they send fire-like visual ripples across the screen and beautifully change both the tempo and tone of the music being played… it has the power to transform everyone into an expressive musician simply with the stroke of a hand.

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Created by Mike Allison and Aaron Sherwood, the piece continues the growing trend of interactive visual installations… a booming segment of technology that looks to bring us more and more human oriented experiences in both entertainment and work. The team explains the technology behind Firewall:

“The piece was made using Processing, Max/MSP, Arduino and a Kinect.” the two creators tell Localflux. “The Kinect measures the average depth of the spandex from the frame it is mounted on. If the spandex is not being pressed into nothing happens. When someone presses into it the visuals react around where the person presses, and the music is triggered. An algorithm created with Max allows the music to speed up and slow down and get louder and softer, based on the depth. This provides a very expressive musical playing experience, even for people who have never played music before. A switch is built into the frame which toggles between two modes. The second mode is a little more aggressive than the first”.

Firewall is only a prototype of larger projects to come, including an upcoming Purring Tiger performance at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center scheduled to premier in June of 2013. Find out more at either aaron-sherwood.com or michaelpallison.com.

Firewall 2

Via localflux

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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