Vision system measures musical performance

Musicians can now use 3-D image processing to radically improve their technique.

Musicians can now use 3-D image processing to radically improve their technique. Kia Ng of the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Engineering and School of Music in the UK has devised i-Maestro (www.i-maestro.org) as a way to use motion capture to record a musician’s posture and movement as they play and then map the results against ideal performance settings.

The i-Maestro 3D Augmented Mirror (AMIR) prototype has been designed for stringed instruments such as violin and cello but could be adapted for other instruments.

Small markers are attached to key points on the instrument, the musician’s body, and the bow. As the musician plays, 12 cameras record the movement at 200 frames/s and map the instrument in 3-D onto the screen. Bow speed, angle, and position are all measured for real-time analysis and feedback. Ng has even incorporated a Wii Balance Board to include data on the musician’s balance.

Until hardware costs are reduced, he plans to allow musicians to use the system at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Research in Music (www.icsrim.org.uk) laboratories on a consultancy basis.

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