Page  242 ï~~SENSE/STAGE - LOW COST, OPEN SOURCE WIRELESS SENSOR INFRASTRUCTURE FOR LIVE PERFORMANCE AND INTERACTIVE, REAL-TIME ENVIRONMENTS Marije A.J. Baalman, Vincent de Belleval Christopher L. Salter Concordia University Design and Computation Arts ABSTRACT SenseStage is a research-creation project to develop a wireless sensor network infrastructure for live performance and interactive, real-time environments. The project is motivated by the economic and technical constraints of live performance contexts and the lack of existing tools for artistic work with wireless sensing platforms. The development is situated within professional artistic contexts and tested in real world scenarios. In this paper we discuss our choice of wireless platform, the design of the hardware and firmware, battery options, and an evaluation of the data transmission quality within the wireless network. Additionally, software integration of the wireless platform with popular media programming environments is addressed, as well as evaluation and dissemination of the technology through workshops. Finally, we elaborate on the application of the hardware and software infrastructure in professional artistic projects: two dance performances, two media projects involving environmental data and an interactive, multi-sensory installation. 1. INTRODUCTION SenseStage is a research-creation project to develop small, low cost and low power wireless sensor hardware together with software infrastructure specifically for use in live theater, dance and music performance as well as for the design of interactive, real-time environments involving distributed, heterogeneous sensing modalities. The project consists of three components: * a series of small, battery powered wireless PCBs that can acquire and transmit input from a range of analog and digital sensors, * an open source software environment that enables the real-time sharing of such sensor data among designers and * plug in modules that enable the analysis of such sensor data streams in order to provide building blocks for the generation of complex dynamics for output media. Joseph Malloch, Joseph Thibodeau Marcelo M. Wanderley McGill University Music Technology, IDMIL The project emerged from a desire to address a novel, emerging research field: distributed, wireless sensing networks for real-time composition using many forms of output media including sound, video, lighting, mechatronic and actuation devices and similar. The design of interactive environments using diverse output media increasingly involves the mapping of many channels of real-time sensor data to control the temporal behavior of such media. Standard mapping techniques with sensors that have been derived from the "instrument building" paradigm [7] usually address only small numbers of sensors or participants and may not scale well to larger spaces. Systems involving large numbers of sensors and participants are rare, custom-designed, and expensive [6]. Furthermore, while wireless sensors and wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are being increasingly deployed daily in areas such as health care, defense, seismology and home security, there are scant examples of such technologies in artistic projects simply due to the lack of available hardware/software infrastructure for artists to use. Most work in sensor networks has been in areas of applied technology development [10] without artistic aims or is restricted to lab settings. Based on these factors, SenseStage has developed a fully integrated hardware and software infrastructure that is intuitive to use by artists and designers, is scaleable to many nodes and performs data acquisition, transmission, conditioning, sharing and compositional tasks all within the same system. 2. BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATION Three specific factors have motivated the SenseStage project: 1) Economic and technical constraints of live performance: While there is increasing interest in the use of sensing technologies in live performance contexts (particularly theater, dance and music-theater), the economic and cultural constraints of live performance make the integration and use of such experimental technologies difficult. Long rehearsal periods and proper technical infrastructure necessary to test and use sensing systems are prohibitively expensive for artists and cultural institutions. Furthermore, 242

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