You’ve seen the awesome Imogen Heap waving her hands around to control musical performance through movement and gesture right? She co-developed the MI.MU gloves to give a flexible and intuitive approach to her own music. Well, now Imogen has been working with creative technologist and children’s author Helen Leigh who wanted to bring something crafty to the table for kids and explorers of interactive musical control.
MINI.MU Glove Kit
The MINI.MU is a make-it-yourself gesture-controlled musical instrument. It uses the Micro:Bit, an open source ARM-based microcontroller designed by the BBC and used in computer education in schools. The Micro:Bit has an accelerometer and that’s the key to the control offered by the MINI.MU. With a simple drag-n-drop block code interface you can tell it to play music in response to movement. It has an 8-bit sound engine and part of the kit is a sewable speaker making the MINI.MU completely self-contained. There is also some wireless and Bluetooth capability and the kit description hints at the possibility of interacting with computers and DAW software.
The kit offers a completely awesome DIY experience. It includes a square of felt for you to cut out gloves to match your hands. It also includes a needle and thread for you to sew the things together. The Micro:Bit goes in one pocket on the glove, the battery pack in another and the speaker is sewed onto the back. The whole thing connects together with crocodile clips. All you have to do is write your code and upload it via a USB cable and you’re good to go.
With some adult assistance, they reckon it’s a good project for kids up from the age of 6. Tech website Pimoroni are putting it out there as an educational tool that ticks all sorts of the boxes that schools like. Personally, I think this is flippin’ amazing and at £39.95 I’ll be getting one for each of my kids for Christmas. The open nature also means that it will inevitably start getting used for other, more advanced projects and I think that’s very exciting. Helen told me that some demo videos will be forthcoming – I’ll add them to the article as soon as they emerge.
- MINI.MU website