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Year: 2008-
Takahiro Kamatani
Miho Kyoya
Toshiaki Uchiyama
Kenji Suzuki
- Faculty of Art and Design (U. Tsukuba)
- Social Interaction
- Cybernics
- Emerging Technologies

beacon / beacon 2+
An interface for socio-musical interaction


This research aims to develop a novel instrument for socio-musical interaction where a number of participants can produce sounds by feet in collaboration with each other. The developed instrument, beacon, is regarded as embodied sound media product that will provide an interactive environment around it. The beacon produces laser beams lying on the ground and rotating. Audio sounds are then produced when the beams pass individual performer's foot. As the performers are able to control the pitch and sound length according to the foot location and angles facing the instrument, the performer's body motion and foot behavior can be translated into sound and music in an intuitive manner.

We introduce a portable instrument called beacon for socio-musical interaction. A number of line laser modules are installed, and the laser beams are produced and rotated around the instrument. The beam performs like a moving string because sounds are generated every time the beam lying on the ground passes the performers' feet. A real-time motion capture technique and pattern recognition of users' feet are used in order to create a new style of musical interaction. Therefore, this instrument provides an embodied sound media environment where everyone can readily enjoy it for playing the sounds without scores and also can interact with others through collaborative musical experiences. In the interactive environment around beacon, people can communicates with each other by means of sound, music and his/her own body motion like dancing or tapping. The promising applications include edutainment, recreation, fitness, rehabilitation, entertainment or sports and new artistic expression.

This instrument allows performers not only to communicate with each other via music and motion, but also to improve the quality of sound production by training and devising various types of behavior. This novel instrument thus can be used for the physical exercise or recreation with fun. Moreover, by arranging small objects around the instrument, a variety of sound will be produced like a environmental music box. Sounds are generated when the laser beam passes the objects as well as human performers. This installation provides a new artistic expression for spatial designers. This round-shape interface does not have any directional characteristics and plays a key role of gathering people for affective communication.



  • Seriously Playful / Playfully Serious, Campus exhibition - Univesity of Tsukuba, Ars Electronica, Festival for Art, Technology and Society, Linz, Austria, 2011. (Demonstration)
  • Kamatani, T., Uchiyama, T., Suzuki, K., "beacon 2+: Networked Socio-Musical Interaction," ACM SIGGRAPH 2010, Emerging Technologies, 2010
  • Suzuki, K., Kyoya, M., Kamatani, T., and Uchiyama, T.; "beacon: Embodied Sound Media Environment for Socio-Musical Interaction," Proc. of 8th Intl. Conf. on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME2008), pp. 360-361, 2008.
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