Wearable translates body biosignatures into creative digital expression

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The XTH Sense packs electronic hardware including sensors, a radio transmitter, and a highly sensitive bioacoustic microphone(Credit: XTH)

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Whether by dexterous digits or vibrant vocals, humans have developed numerous methods of creating music. The latest instrument adds a bit of a personal twist by using one's blood, guts, and muscles in lieu of strings, reeds, or valves. The wearable XTH Sense incorporates biosensors that translate the body's acoustic properties into a creative digital interface.

We've seen some incredible feats of music-making engineering, such a robotic "third arm" for furious drumming or the Musical Marble Machine. The XTH Sense dips a little deeper into the tech aspect, permitting it to interact with a variety of connected devices in addition to creating unique music.

The device is designed to be comfortably worn about the arms, legs, or torso with the included armband. Underneath the polyurethane exterior lies electronic hardware including sensors, a radio transmitter, and a highly sensitive bioacoustic microphone. In some ways, the XTH Sense combines the best of the Myo gesture control armband and T8 midi controller glove.

As users move about while wearing the XTH Sense, the sensors record motion, measure body temperature, and capture the bioacoustic sounds of muscles contracting, blood flowing, and the heart beating. The device employs radio frequency to wirelessly relay the information up to 15 m (49 ft) to computers running the open-source XTH Software Suite (Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux-compatible).

All the collected data gets crunched down into a form usable by the software, plug-and-play applications, and plugins. Depending on what users load and connect to, the XTH Sense can serve to create music digitally or enhance a live instrument. For graphic design programs, specific body movements can be recognized as actions to alter stroke direction, brush size, or paint density. The XTH Sense also allows for interaction with virtual reality systems.

The company has provided an API so people can code and develop their own XTH Sense applications. The XTH platform lets users connect with each other in order to share projects, find new applications, or seek out creative/experienced assistance.

The designers of the device are currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, having raised eight percent of their US$80,000 goal in less than a day. Pledges start at $179, which includes the wearable instrument, receiver, USB cable, and software.

A number of prototypes have been developed and tested. So if product refinements and manufacturing go according to plan, backers can expect shipments of the XTH Sense to start as early as this November.

Check out the video below to see how musician, composer, and teacher Illay Chester experiments with the XTH Sense as an extension of her cello.

Sources: XTH, Kickstarter

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