CIRMMT Symposium on Force Feedback and Music

Dec 9-10, 2016. See the symposium website for more information and for registration.cirmmt_logo2005onlyhi

Though haptics research in music is a very active research field, it seems presently dominated by tactile interfaces, due in part to the widespread availability of vibrotactile feedback in portable devices. Though not recent—with some of its early contributions dating back to the end of the 70s—research on force-feedback in musical applications has traditionally suffered from exogenous issues such as hardware cost, as well as the lack of community-wide accessibility to software and hardware platforms for prototyping musical applications. Despite this situation, in recent years several works have addressed this topic proposing software platforms and simulation models.

This symposium will discuss the current state of research and future trends on force-feedback and music (FF&M).


  • Bret Battey, De Montfort University, England
  • Edgar Berdahl, Louisiana State University, USA
  • Christian Frisson, Inria Lille, France
  • Alexandros Kontogeorgakopoulos, Cardiff School of Art and Design, Wales [on career break]
  • James Leonard, Grenoble, France
  • Joseph Malloch, Dalhousie University, Canada
  • Julian Neri, McGill University, Canada
  • Thomas Pietrzak, Université Lille 1, France
  • Ian Sinclair, MPB Technologies Inc, Canada
  • Stephen Sinclair, Inria, Chile
  • Marcelo Wanderley, IDMIL/CIRMMT, McGill University, Canada

Good vibrations

As I mentioned earlier, I augmented one of the T-Sticks with a vibration motor designed by Hsin-Yun Yao and Vincent Hayward of McGill’s Haptics Lab. Since then, various incarnations of the T[actile]-Stick have been used for pursuing research at McGill on Enactive Interfaces. Recently I finished building a prototype with multidimensional vibration feedback: a wooden harness is used at each end to mount two linear vibration motors orthogonal to the length axis of the pipe. This allows stereo panning effects along the length of the pipe, and will hopefully lead to some more sophisticated haptic effects than I described in my initial project report.

Vibrotactile feedback for the T-Stick DMI

Last year I took a fascinating seminar on haptics taught by Vincent Hayward of the Centre for Intelligent Machines at McGill University. For my final project I equipped the first of the soprano T-Sticks with a vibration actuator with controllable frequency, magnitude, and phase of vibration designed by Vincent and Hsin-Yun Yao. Inspired by a paper they published in Eurohaptics 2006, I adapted the T-Stick software to use vibration to create the illusion that there is a ball rolling inside the instrument – the details are described in the project report. Versions of the T-Stick DMI with programmable vibrotactile feedback will now be used both for performance and for research at McGill on Enactive Interfaces.

A diagram of the prototype vibrotactile T-Stick