The slow burning concept of The Internet of Things, which debuted at the close of the 20th Century and envisions a future whereby connected devices (some 50 billion of them by 2020 according to predications) will independently react with the Internet and our surroundings, is finally starting to build some momentum.
Interestingly, It’s also getting a soundtrack.
The everyday objects we take for granted are rapidly becoming the new audio catalysts, thanks to intuitive and responsive technology, paving the way for highly tactile and product focused music experiences.
With the international Internet of Things Day (9th April) just passing this month, as those at the forefront of the movement gathered to highlight new tech across 16 countries, we thought we’d turn our attention to MoT (The Music Of Things), those smart devices that are powering innovative new ways to control the music we love.
MJ V1.0 - CONTROL MUSIC WITH YOUR CLOTHES
Wearable technology and the concept of the Quantified Self is arguably the most active sub-category of The Internet of Things, with devices that provide data or augmented additions to our physical bodies (as opposed to in-home internet connected devices) ramping up considerably. Google Glass, Nike Fuelband and adidas’s recent talking shoe being among some of the more prominent examples here.
California-based startup Machina now brings music into the fold of wearable tech with a Kickstarter project that converts a simple jacket into a music creation device and audio controller all in one. We’ve seen some other variations on this theme (here, here and here), but none as cohesive as this so far. Although it is still in the nascent stages this could certainly ramp up the relationship between music, fashion and EDM culture.
21 SWINGS - COMMUNAL MUSIC CREATION
Investing in The Music Of Things isn’t all about Arduino circuitry and tech geekiness, it can also boil down to generating activities that are simple, fun and accessible to all ages. Such as 21 Swings, an innovative community art project.
This installation, which debuted last year in Montreal, is a smart mix of play and music, converting a series of fiber-optic-linked swings into a giant instrument with each user triggering a different sound. Built around the notion that we can achieve more when working collaboratively, the musical playground highlights the simplicity of The Music of Things and how it can be used to share the benefits of audio in communal areas.
MICO HEADPHONES - BRAIN CONTROLLED MUSIC
Making their debut at this years SXSW festival, Mico headphones utilise your brainwaves to select music. Very much in the prototype stagest (there are apparently only two actual Mico headsets in the world) the somewhat unwieldy headset plays songs from a selection of 100 neuro-tagged tracks dependent on your given mood.
Neurowear, the company behind the mind reading cans, have mooted aligning with Spotify in the future to increase the range of available catalogue. An optimistic goal, but not beyond reason.
The company’s Neuro Turntable, which only plays music if your brain is concentrated (it cuts out if you get distracted) is also worth a look. As is another company, Biobeats, a bio-metric app that triggers music based on your heartbeat.
EMAIL GUITAR - REVERSING THE 'MoT' CONCEPT
Flipping the concept of The Music Of Things on its head, W+K copywriter David Neevels has developed a unique project that converts his devotion to shredding on his Flying V guitar into type, effectively leaving him able to write emails and presumably creative ad copy in a more musical way. Moustache entirely optional.