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The 2014 Forum on Tactile and Gestural Interaction


Multi-dimensional interaction

© Aceituno - Potier

The Forum on Tactile and Gestural Interaction (FITG) will take place for the fourth time on 13 and 14 May in Tourcoing. Organised by Inria Lille–Nord Europe and Plaine Images, this event will give a comprehensive overview of applications in the field of human–computer interaction.

The FITG is open to everyone from researchers and entrepreneurs to artists and those wishing to learn more about this topic. In a bid to gain the interest of this varied audience, the large-scale event will touch on all aspects of human–computer interaction. "We will discuss the hardware, of course, and the human aspects of use, but we will also go into the software for programming interactive applications," explained Nicolas Roussel, director the project-team Mint (associated with CNRS and Lille1*) and co-organiser of the forum. The programme includes 15-minute presentations and demonstrations by researchers and entrepreneurs."The forum is a chance to review existing technology and exchange views on their applications," Roussel added.

The forum is a chance to review existing technology and exchange views on their applications.

A range of speakers

This year's guest of honour is Jean-Louis Frechin, a designer specialised in interactive objects and creator of the company NoDesign. Other key guests include Dick Lantim and Mitsuru Furuta, designers of groundbreaking digital interfaces at the startup Sensorit, the magician Moulla, and the psychologist Yves Guiard.

Closer to home, Jonathan Aceituno, PhD student in the project-team Mint and Ludovic Potier, former Mint team researcher will speak about their research work focused on music-related human–computer interaction.

We spoke with these two music enthusiasts, who have pooled their energy to develop a new method of making music.

When the computer becomes a musical instrument

What led you to work on the design of digital musical instruments?

Jonathan Aceituno : I have a background in both music and research, so musical interaction seemed like a good way of combining my passions. I began this project in my spare time more than a year ago. Before that, I had already worked in this field on the augmented reality musical environment Glovebox.
Ludovic Potier : I am a musician, but I'm first and foremost a specialist in cognitive sciences and ergonomics. Meeting Jonathan piqued my interest in the interaction between music and digital tools. At the beginning, it was mainly for the enjoyment of being able to play an instrument that I was not familiar with. But beyond the musical aspects, I found the questions concerning the relationship between action and sound particularly interesting.

Tell us more about the research that you will present during the FITG.

J. A. : The aim of our project is to devise new forms of use for everyday digital terminals, such as a computer or smartphone, to enable users to play them like musical instruments. To reach our goal, we drew our inspiration from actions used with existing instruments that musicians are already likely to master, such as tapping a touchpad rather than a percussion skin. In addition to recycling these movements, we are expanding possibilities by allowing for the control of new elements. An example is rubbing the touchpad to control an echo effect. But our project is not just fun and games: it really lets you make music.

Who are you targeting with your project?

J. A. : Musicians mainly, who, like us, want to learn new instruments. Guitarists who have mastered the musicality and notes of their instruments will be able to try the trumpet, for instance. We have designed and produced prototypes which we are in the process of testing on various audiences. Some aspects of this work, such as the way in which our users will learn to use these digital instruments, will help fine-tune our design, as well as that developed by other researchers.
L. P. : We are also looking to test our device in order to introduce learners to music. Initial learning is required, but it's easy to pick up. It's possible to play very quickly as great technical skill is not required at the start.

> Visit their research site (under construction)

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* within UMR 8022 CNRS-Lille1-Lille 3-Inria, LIFL and EA 2697 L2EP

Keywords: FITG Tactile and Gestural Interaction Human-computer interaction INRIA Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre