This talk retraces the use of bio-signal sensors as musical controllers over the last 20 years. The work centres around the BioMuse, developed by Hugh Lusted and Ben Knapp at Stanford University’s CCRMA in the late 1980s.
Atau Tanaka’s own use of the BioMuse’s electromyogram (EMG) function to track muscle tension to control computer-based sound began in the early 1990s. His work continues to the present day with new hardware, but with the continual ethos of an evolving, yet same musical instrument, the underlying principles of operation remain consistent over time.
Atau Tanaka creates music for sensor instruments, mobile infrastructures, and democratized digital forms. He studied Physical Sciences at Harvard and has a doctorate in Computer Music Composition from Stanford University’s CCRMA, and was awarded the Prix de Paris to conduct research in Paris at IRCAM, Centre Pompidou. Tanaka's first inspirations came upon meeting John Cage during his Norton Lectures, after which he eventually went on to re-create Cage’s "Variations VII" with Matt Wand and :zoviet*france:.