Even though music-driven games like Rock Band and Just Dance could see you engage in epic contests with friends and family, you still spend much of the time looking at a screen rather than truly interacting with fellow players. The only display needed for the Interactive Music Battle system from Paris-based phonotonic is an iPad screen to choose from banks of sounds. After that, motion sensors convert player moves into music – one providing the rhythm and the other the melody.
The Interactive Music Battle (IMB) is the first product from a group of engineers, researchers, musicians and designers collectively named phonotonic. The two player music creation game has spent 2 years in development, and is designed for would-be musicians who can't play instruments or seasoned players, performers and dancers looking for something new.
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Each player will need one of two smart objects connected over Wi-Fi to an iOS app running on an iPad or iPhone (Android coming soon) and a bit of room to move around. Players select a beat and melody from a list in the app, grab an object and start a movin' and a groovin'.
One connected object is used to provide rhythm, the other some sort of lead instrument and the players riff off each other's creative juices. The data from the sensor unit within the 2.75 in (7 cm) diameter, 7.76 oz (220 g) object is converted into real-time music by the app using technology developed by phonotonic.
The motion sensor unit (which includes an accelerometer, gyro and magnetometer) within the object can be removed and placed in something else – under your cap, inside a child's toy, in your shoes or even strapped to the underside of a frisbee, for example. The unit's built-in batteries are said to be good for 2 hours of movement-driven music creation before needing a top-up via micro-USB, and will auto wake-up when connected to the app, and enter sleep when the connection is broken.
There are currently includes 10 music packs to choose from, but the developers are working on more, up to two simultaneous connections to objects can be supported, and a learning mode allows players to master some basic moves before heading into gaming mode.
phonotonic is currently seeking production funds on Kickstarter. A pack containing two objects, two sensors and an iOS app is pitched at US$199. The campaign is due to end on July 14 and, if all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to begin in December.
The IMB pitch video is below.