Imogen Heap Mi.Mu Gloves

Ever since I first caught a snippet of Imogen Heap in her typical heavy reverb style about 10 years ago I’ve been a fan.

Not just of her musical talent (seeing her live at Camden’s Roundhouse a couple of years ago was a particular highlight) but of her whimsical, slightly eclectic array of gestures and personality, and more recently The Gloves Project.

Imogen Heap 5

I wanted to write about this project when it first emerged a couple of years ago, but unless you were there (not that I was) there wasn’t really the video footage or information available to justify and explain how incredible it is.

However with the recent ambition of a Kickstarter campaign to propell these “magical, musical gloves” even further it gives me a refreshed opportunity to write a bit about it.

In 2012 Imogen appeared at a Wired conference and blew many people away using gestures from a pair of gloves to control instruments and create sounds.

A full orchestra and choir quite literally in the palm of your hands.

With the original talk from that conference in 2012 (released only last year) here is a bit of history to recap the journey that the technology has come on.  If you don’t have 20 minutes to spare then skip to around the 14 minute mark to see a song performed with just the gloves.

“A lot of what I do, like adding a huge reverb to an instrument, is done by pressing a button on a keyboard.  Which isn’t very exciting. You can’t even see what I’m doing.  Fifty percent of the show gets hidden.”

The technology has advanced, as it does, and is now at a point to showcase to the world so back to the point in hand (no pun intended!).  She is looking for support on Kickstarter to make the Mi.Mu gloves a reality for a wider audience.

Now you can “see and hear the sound, which is much more interesting than turning a pot around.”

The original performance glove (black) and the latest development (blue).

Imogen Heap 3

A series of prototypes used in the glove development.

Imogen Heap 2

The key piece of technology in each glove is the extremely versatile x-IMU board developed by x-IO Technologies.  It contains an Inertial Measurement Unit and Attitude Heading Reference System, typically used in aircraft, and is mounted on the back of the hand along with an accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope and wifi transmitter.  The latest version of the gloves has all of these sensors integrated into the fabric to give absolute and precise gesture control.

Imogen Heap 4

As well as the expected “open palm”, “point” or “fist”, each glove can track position, direction, velocity, degree of bend in fingers and the distance between fingers.  Wow.

Oh, and the open glove design still allows you to play more traditional instruments whilst wearing them.

Imogen Heap 1

If you know any musical, creative, or electronic type people then send them over to Kickstarter.  Finalising an open-source design could lead to other applications outside music for the gloves.  Architects could manipulate building designs, or Product Designers could even accelerate ergonomic testing (combined with 3d printing it could be an extremely powerful tool!)

The interview on Dezeen with her is well worth a read, and full details on the gloves here.

A Girl Named Elastika

This has been featured on a few blogs already (packing up and moving house took up most of my time last week), but it is far too creative and brilliant not to share on here.

The stop motion story of a girl named Elastika and her dreams of discovering the world, amazingly animated by Guillaume Blanchet with only rubber bands, a pin board and hundreds of coloured drawing pins.

You can tell Guillaume is a film maker and not just an animator, the out takes and stunt double at the end are a fantastic nod to the film industry, as are the camera view changes of zooming in and out (particularly on the boat at sea circa 1min50s).

I’m already eyeing up our stationery cupboard at work and wondering what I can make!

Mini Cooper Black Light

I’m not really sure what this is in aid of, other than looking very cool and probably being lots of fun to set up and film, but it’s Monday and we should all have a brightly coloured explosive start to the week.

Change the stock headlights on a Mini Cooper to black lights, fill (what I presume) are fluorescent tubes with UV paint, and drive through them.


More works from Ben Tricklebank here.

Ballad Of A WiFi Hero

This made me laugh.

The story “In Which I Fix My Girlfriend’s Grandparents’ WiFi and Am Hailed as a Conquering Hero” from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.  Charmingly animated by Jesse Benjamin.

The Google did not load

More McSweeney’s goodness here and more fun stuff from animator Jesse Benjamin here.

01 April 2014

It’s one of my favourite days of the year for blogging with the veritable banquet of inevitable jokes and pranks that is April Fools’ Day.

Last year was always going to be hard to top but, aside from a few poor Photoshop efforts that aren’t fooling anyone, lots of companies have excelled in their efforts.

Here are just a few of my favourites that made their way to me throughout the morning of April 1st and, as ever, Google is leading the way with some truly fantastic ones.

Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge
This might be one of my favourite ever.  Merging what I presume is some sort of augmented reality overlay with Google Maps we have the ultimate job interview to become a Pokémon Master at Google.

Google Translate: Emoji
With emojis becoming more common in instant messaging than the alphanumeric characters themselves it was only a matter of time before Google Translate added it to their existing language services.

Reddit already dictates a lot of what we read online, but with their new Hand Equivalent Action Detection system it gives us a revolutionary new way to browse hands free.

Canary Wharf Loop-the-Loop
In an effort to make your commute more fun the DLR has announced a new loop-the-loop at Canary Wharf.

Canary Wharf Loop the loop

CERN Comic Sans Switch
In what I can only presume is a not so subtle dig at this presentation of the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012, CERN have announced that all of their official communication channels are switching to the exclusive use of the font Comic Sans.

CERN Comic Sans

National Trust Clock Change
Putting your watch an hour forward last weekend was a simple task but spare a thought for the folks at the National Trust who have to incorporate daylight savings at the Avebury World Heritage Site.


National Trust Head Ranger Hilary Makins said “Obviously Stone Age man didn’t have daylight saving, so twice a year we have to move one of the stones”.

Edibox Snackaging
Dominos have recently discovered “that the crust is overwhelmingly the most popular part of the pizza experience” so this has naturally led to their “double dough” experience of the Edibox.  Waste-free dining at its finest.


In other news, the Tour de France will offer an F1-inspired KERS system from 2016, Ant and Dec have fallen out, the Queen has approved fracking in the grounds of Buckingham Palace and the Department of Health has announced a pilot scheme to outsource NHS maternity wards to Mumsnet!

How many did you fall for?

If They Could Transform

If there’s one thing that is bound to send you on a trip down memory lane it is childhood TV programmes.  In an era where TV was an after homework treat the thought of all those theme songs and characters is about as heavy a dose of nostalgia as you can get.

Alongside the characters that you wanted to be a part of (for me it was being a Ghostbuster) were their iconic vehicles which often played a major part in forming the show’s content.

Cars are cool.  And they are even cooler when you are a little kid.  Combining this with another childhood favourite in Transformers is illustrator Darren Rawlings who has given many of these recognisable vehicles a robotic twist with his “if they could transform” series of images.

What if Optimus Prime hadn’t chosen a Kenworth K100 Cab Truck and had instead opted for the DeLorean from Back to the Future?  Well step inside the cartoon mind of Darren Rawlings to find out (complete with hoverboard!).

DeLorean Back to the Future – DeLorean

Mystery-MachineScooby Doo – Mystery Machine

Party-WagonTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Party Wagon

VanduraThe A-Team – Vandura

BatmobileBatman – Batmobile 8T-9

My favourite (complete with ghost trap)

Ecto-1Ghostbusters – Ecto-1

General-LeeThe Dukes of Hazzard – General Lee

KittKnight Rider – Kitt 

More images from Darren on his blog here.


One Of Those Weeks

It has been one of those weeks.

one of those weeks

But now it’s the weekend.  Happy Friday!

More awesome GIFs and illustrations by Robin Davey here.

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