Anyone who has been lucky enough to catch a live performance from Grammy award-winning artist Imogen Heap knows that the musician has a passion for off-kilter instruments; often incorporating dozens of experimental gadgets into a single composition. But when the singer recently debuted a pair of “musical gloves” at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, even her most avid fans couldn’t help but marvel at the state-of-the-art devices.
An ideal example of the event’s knowledge-building mission, Heap’s performance with the gloves, which were developed to give the musician another level of control over the music she creates, kicked-off the conference.
Created by a team at the University of West England, the fiber-optic devices were programmed with the artist’s movements in mind, containing chips filled with data unique to the performer.
Heap explains to the BBC, “I wanted to develop ways to be more expressive and spontaneous on stage. I began using wireless lapel microphones on my wrists but the missing element was to be able to wirelessly control the music.”