Page  00000001 ORB3 - MUSICAL ROBOTS WITHIN AN ADAPTIVE SOCIAL COMPOSITION SYSTEM Dan Livingstone Computer Music Research School of Computing, Communications and Electronics, University of Plymouth, Drakes Circus Plymouth PL148AA United Kingdom dlivinstoner:,I ýmouth. acuk ABSTRACT Gesture capture, motion tracking and 3D visualisation technologies have generated many new musical forms, often extending the mannerisms or behaviours of a given performer or discipline, providing new compositional frameworks for real time synthesis in response to action. In many cases these approaches are presented within a single domain, a live stage performance, a site specific installation, a shared networked visualisation of collaborative composition. The reality is that these 'interactivating spaces' [1] whether haptic, [5] tactile [9] or ubiquitous [11] is that they manifest new forms of interaction, between people, systems and the medium of sound. Free Sound can be understood to be an extension of the 'open work' where the base materials for a compositional process are created through a model of exchange, interaction and resynthesis. The resulting output of these activities can be broadcast and disseminated through a range of technologies to both social and private spaces. This research suggests that there are new interaction models and social compositional frameworks to be found in these cybrid spaces, a previously intangible location often dominated by the broadcast and publishing industry. A marketing model defined by revenue streams and a value chain. In the case of socially mediated composition or 'free sound' there is still a value chain, it's investors and beneficiaries are the open source community, the collaborators and participants within such mediated systems and the resulting free sound. Keywords Adaptive System, Sound Installation, Smart Interfaces, Music Robots, Spatial Music, Conscious Subconscious Interaction, Interaction models. 1. INTRODUCTION In the design of new interfacing methods [1] for sound manipulation and control it is often the case that the primary focus is the point of tactile interaction, the exploration of new gestural controllers or methods for mapping and transforming data to create sound material [2]. This approach has led to the development of numerous novel and individual interfaces [3], in many cases the interaction mode is learnt by the user, in order to complete the feedback loop, thereby achieving Eduardo Miranda Computer Music Research School of Computing, Communications and Electronics, University of Plymouth, Drakes Circus Plymouth PL148AA United Kingdom ed uardo.niranda(a lvnouth.acuk Figure 1. Orb3 wireless mobile interfaces in absorb mode. dynamic results through an exploratory model of interaction. With a modular adaptive systems approach the emphasis is on providing an interface framework for different types of interaction that can be initiated by both users and 'smart' interfaces, ie new interaction behaviors can be identified by the system independently, in response to users actions, whether direct tactile control or simple movement, location, gesture or position. Orb3 is a compositional space that can operate autonomously through each interfaces interaction with its' environment, each Orb collects the base materials for sound composition, participants moving between Orbs influence their motion and data collection behaviours, Orbs can also be picked up and held as a controller for the sound material they have generated, each Orb has the potential, through software, to adapt to its current user, a number of models have been developed to motivate this interaction, based on observation of interaction with a number of novel interfaces and custom controllers: "...to have a musical response accentuated by the player who sent the original call, to plant a musical "seed" that would be picked up by the group in various manners, etc." Weinburg [9] A significant observation during performances by children using the Beatbug system developed at MIT was described at the International Computer Music Conference in Miami 2004; the children made exaggerated swooping motions with the Beatbugs as they 'passed' sounds while interacting with the controller. At the time the Beatbugs were not equipped to react to this emergent behavior, although

Page  00000002 neither the audience or children were aware of this at the time. This observation led to the next refinement of this approach to a network of interfaces, potentially using blue tooth technologies and motion detection to refine and utilize this interaction, this anecdote reinforces the value of the adaptive systems approach we present which is a continually evolving field of applied research for novel interfaces and interactive music systems. 2. ORB3 DEVELOPMENT PROCESS The Orb3 interface design was developed through observation of interaction with wired 'composer and listener' objects'. These original objects were static spheres housing a cluster of analogue sensors (Light dependant resistors, bead thermistors, vibration and tilt switches etc) for measuring ambient light, ambient heat, general motion and orientation. The original system comprised four such spheres which could be placed and relocated to generate and vary data used to synthesize sound material for 7.1 sound diffusion controlled by a gesture and motion based video tracking system" Each sphere contained a total of 8 sensors, wired to a control voltage to midi converter (Infusion Systems Icube) this method worked effectively for developing software and refining synthesis and sound design for prototyping a large-scale adaptive system. Local interaction was less successful due to restricted movement of wired objects and unexpected behaviors and reactions of participants. For example; using the prototype system the shadows cast between spheres as participants moved around the room were recorded by a drop in light values sensed by the sphere affected, causing subtle changes in base sound materials generated for the sound-scape, this was an intended compositional element of the system but on realising this process, many participants could not resist the temptation to explore further, initially cupping or shielding areas of the spheres and inevitably moving and repositioning them, anticipating a direct response. It was immediately apparent that the simplicity of the sphere encouraged a series of interactions that could further inform sound design for socially mediated sound spaces. It also led to the realization that the software techniques applied to the vision system for adding new data relationships based on symbol recognition could be migrated to the interface design for each sphere developing more expressive tactile control, and more significantly, using the relative position and orientation of each sphere as a compositional parameter that could be heard in the diffused sound-scape, that was also registered by visual or tactile feedback on the interface itself. Other observations were that often participants chose to work collaboratively, taking a sphere each, influencing a parameter passing it on, this worked particularly effectively in groups of three, where patterns of motion and exchange had the potential to create rhythm and flow, some general experiments were done with different numbers of spheres to see if this affected interaction modes, it is speculated that providing an odd number of interfaces provides more movement through transfer and exchange and encourages turn taking. It was also noted that during periods of inaction or when participants were more passive different listening modes were reported, this in turn has influenced the sound design of the refined system, incorporating different 'play states' or modes - some further controlled experiments are in data to support these assertions. The logical development of these passive and active modes mediated by participants is to add simple robotics to each sphere to allow each one to move and interact with other spheres independently. 2.1. Design for Collaboration Having established some significant refinements from the initial prototypes a specification for a more robust adaptive interface was resolved. Primarily a wireless approach was required, high performance with reliable transfer of digital and analogue data from sensors, in addition a wireless microphone embedded in each unit for live sampling. Internal lighting was added to indicate interaction modes and force feedback in response to interaction. These features introduced new design challenges, as the revised design needed onboard power for wireless operation and ideally solar charging to extend session times. A final addition was the inclusion of lasers and proximity sensing to enable quick alignment and event triggering between spheres. A simple method for overhead positional video tracking (max/msp Jitter) using a single fixed camera provides an effective method for documenting movement and behavior of each orb during a live session through time lapse imagining. A mobile robotic element has been prototyped for each sphere, allowing them to move and reposition themselves autonomously or in 'collaboration' by integrating positional tracking (digital compass/distance and trajectory) and proximity triggers (ultrasound sensors). This dynamic motion provides a visual element that reveals the compositional potential of the system, while demonstrating some of the synthesis and diffusion properties that are influenced by the interaction between or with each sphere. When each Orb is collecting data to influence sound synthesis and diffusion, or being followed or manipulated by participants this collaborative process can be displayed from a top down perspective, using either projection or plasma screen display. "Most of the systems that allow the creation of sound and image in real-time don't have the capability for organizing events at a global level. This is however, required if the aim is to allow the composition of a piece that involves feedback from events sonic and visual, in the construction of interactive audiovisual compositions. " [3] (Franco et al 2004) For the purpose of this paper emphasis has been placed on the Orb3 interfaces, the key features are interaction modes and social composition, simply expressed as 'play states'. Sound is the primary medium but in order to make visible the transformative processes underpinning

Page  00000003 the compositional output ways are being sought to create a visual aesthetic from both the data and interaction of people, making visible behavior and interactions, effectively creating graphical transcription as real time feedback to participants. Developers of collaborative musical interfaces with tactile, graphical and sensory feed back are developing new terminologies to describe the design process for these systems in terms that begin to articulate their compositional and social modalities. Collaborative interactive music systems, such as 'Block Jam' (NewtonDunn, Nakano, Gibson 2002) where interconnecting blocks are collaboratively assembled to organise musical phrases and sequences begin to identify new musical forms enabling participants to create 'meaningful musical structures' through 'collaboration and exploration' [6] (Newton Dunn et. al. 2002) Other collaborative works such as ToneTable [2] (Bowers J. 2001) use interactive visual elements as an integral interface element, in this case participants manipulate 4 trackballs, 'disturbing' a projected fluid surface with associated textures and diffused sounds, again it is the observation of improvisation and collaboration with a real-time composition system that distinguishes this emerging musical form. The author discusses emergent behaviors and extended engagement as a development of the system design; 'structures of motivation' 'variable participation' [2] (Bowers, J. 2001) A highly refined table top tactile control surface for two or more participants has been developed by Patten and Brecht, 'Audiopad' [8], which has been extensively exhibited. The system provides a graphically dynamic projected overlay oriented around electronically tagged tracked physical objects or 'pucks' for real-time control of preprogrammed electronic music, moved by hand with fingertip control. Key elements in terms of a compositional model are 'spontaneous reinterpretation' and a combination of 'visual and tactile dialogue'[8] (Patten J. Brecht B. 2003) The design and installation for the Orb3 system forms an auditory sphere using an 8 Channel sound diffusion through which participants move, view, listen and reconstruct the compositional process through social interaction within it. The audiovisual feedback in response to these varied interaction modalities is an active process, one of content driven collaboration. 2.2. Communications & Parameters Each Orb sends data via a 2.4ghz wireless RF interface to a G4 laptop running Max/MSP, a combination of analogue and digital data can be sent and processed by the control software created in max. The software itself is not simply a parameter mapping utillity, it is designed to correlate different data against previous interactions, a form of compositional memory where environmental parameters of previous sessions are compared with current ones to identify repeated behaviors of the system and actions of participants. The software is designed to be adaptive, previously un-recorded or new data configurations are identified and used to compose new sound events or objects. The software sends data to each Orb to indicate its' state and trigger visual or tactile feedback, ie; activate laser/proximity sensing via ultrasound and orientation via digital compass for relative positioning, activate status leds, activate force feedback. Each Orb has two compositional states - Absorb and Adapt. In Absorb mode an Orb is autonomous and located on the floor, it's sensors are calibrated to collect environmental data, ambient light, ambient temperature, relative position and orientation, it can also live sample sound for processing - the software controls this calibration which is activated through Orb alignment - Each Orb is fitted with proximity sensor, a laser and LDR - placing the three Orbs in a triangle and directing each Laser to the next Orbs locating LDR activates this mode, which is part of the initial setup process. Environmental data changes are usually slow in interior environments so these elements are mapped to the timbre and color of sounds created with larger fluctuations affecting diffusion, thus providing an overall structure for the real time composition that is responsive to ambient light, temperature and general movement. Adapt mode is activated when the alignment of Orbs is disturbed, either by walking between them, interrupting the laser tracking or by picking them up which also activates vibration sensors and initiates orientation mapping - angle and orientation of each Orb in this state directly influences panning and diffusion rates of synthesized sounds. During Adapt mode the laser is deactivated and the ambient temperature measurement is recalibrated to respond to body heat through hand contacts on the Orbs lower surface. Bead thermistors with fast response times are used so as an Orb is passed from one hand to another, or between users, it registers and marks these changes. This data combined with orientation data allows for a range of subtle and dynamic sound events to be initiated by each participant in collaboration with both the system and with other people. 2.3. Emergent Behavior As an adaptive portable system, the Orb3 environment creates an opportunity for observing and recording forms of emergent behavior in relation to spatial sound interaction, this provides researchers in this field with a structured framework to inform the design of mobile and autonomous interfaces, such as musical robots or adaptive social composition systems. "we should not forget that humble reactive robotic systems capable of sensing and reflecting the complexity of their environments have the capacity for unpredictable and life like behavior that encourages playful somatic interaction. " [10] (Woolf & Beck 2002)

Page  00000004 The inclusion of play through collaboration is not a by product of this system, it has been developed explicitly to motivate different responses through consideration of ergonomics and human factors, developing from the considered observations of researchers and practitioners in related fields. The 'play states' or modes titled Absorb and Adapt have been designed with consideration of both composer/listener object interaction and the listening process or perceptual triggers to motivate participants. [13] (Livingstone & Miranda 2005) 3. CONCLUSIONS The compositional approach is not modeled on a fixed or even consistent excitation-sonification relationship ' [Paine G. 2004] many elements of the sound-scape generated are through transformative synthesis methods, in this instance the creation of sound through traditionally unrelated real world variables. Neither are the sounds randomly generated; the capture and transformation of variables such as heat, light, proximity, motion and time create values that could be mapped to conventional parameters for musical control of predefined note sequences, loops and formally structured phrases but in this adaptive approach through a process of observation, listening and sound design these parameters are treated as explicit elements of the real time composition environment, ie the ORBs are designed to be responsive to their physical environment, with adaptive behaviours that motivate human interaction. The system design approach is adaptive, one that aims to create synthesis to express physical real world properties in collaboration with participants through social interaction, sound synthesis and diffusion. The emphasis on compositional content [1] (Bongers 2002) rather than purely refining the interface technology has proved to be a significant design methodology, each interface element is fairly simple, basic electronics are used, with this system the combination of participants behavior, adaptive software and 'smart' interfaces creates a new compositional process. Through further observation and refinement of this type of system a deeper understanding of 'play states' and collaborative compositional processes will be described. "Response to musical stimuli can cause significant changes in both behavior and brain activity "[5] (Machover T. 2004) Developing systems that adapt and respond to these essential elements of musical activity is a demanding challenge to this field. Consideration of social interaction through the medium of sound is a core concern of this research; how we perceive and interact with sound environments or interface objects that adapt to our behavior. In this sense the Orb3 interface is 'smart' our social interactions and interplay are part of the 'instrument' but the instrument is not merely a separate controller or extension of an individual performer, it is a socially mediated compositional environment with the potential to adapt to emergent behavior. 'An adaptive systems approach that exhibits process driven collaboration.' [13] 4. REFERENCES [1] Bongers B. Harris Y. A (2002) Structured Instrument Design Approach: The Video-Organ Proceedings of the Conference on New Instruments for Musical Expression, May 2002, Media Lab Europe, Dublin Ireland. [2] Bowers, J. (2001) TONETABLE: A Multi-User, Mixed Media, Interactive Installation P2, and 4,5. [3] Franco E. Griffith N. Fernstro E. (2004) " Issues for Designing a flexible expressive audio visual system for real-time performance & composition" Proceedings of the Conference on New Instruments for Musical Expression, June 3-5, 2004 Shizuoka University of Art and Culture Hamamatsu, Japan [4] Lippe, C (2002) "Real time Interaction Among Composers, Performers, and Computer Systems" Information Processing Society of Japan SIG Notes, Volume 2002, Number 123, pp. 1-6. [5] Machover T. Shaping Minds Musically BT Technology Journal Vol 22 No 4 October 2004 [6] Newton-Dunn H., Nakanon H., Gibson J. "Block Jam: A Tangible Interface for Interactive Music" Proceedings of the Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, Montreal, Canada 2003 [7] Paine G. (2004) "Gesture and Musical Interaction: Interactive Engagement Through Dynamic Morphology" Proceedings of the Conference on New Instruments for Musical Expression, June 3-5, 2004 Shizuoka University ofArt and Culture Hamamatsu, Japan [8] Patten J., Recht B., Ishii H."Audiopad: A Tag-based Interface for Musical Performance" Proceedings of the Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, Dublin, Ireland, 2002. [9] Weinberg G. Key Note Address: Interconnected Musical Networks -Bringing Expression and Thoughtfulness to Collaborative Group Playing" In Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 1-6 November, 2004 University of Miami, Florida, USA [10] Woolf S. Experiments with Reactive Robotic Sound Sculptures. ALife VIII: Workshop proceedings 2002 P2, 3. [11] Livingstone D. and Miranda E. "Composition for Ubiquitous Responsive Sound Environments". In Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 1-6 November, 2004 University of Miami, Florida, USA [12] Livingstone D. (1998) "The Space between the Assumed Real and The Digital Virtual". In Ascott, R. Reframing Consciousness - Art, Mind & Technology Intellect Books pp138-143 Composer and Listener Objects detailed here form part of a larger integrated system included in proceedings ICMC 2004 [11] 11 Details of this symbol based adaptive tracking system are included in proceedings ICMC 2004 [11]