Marco Donnarumma's Xth Sense Named World's Most Innovative New Musical Instrument

Feb 18, 2012 | Atlanta, GA

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  • Xth Sense - 2012 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition

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Teri Nagel, Georgia Tech College of Architecture

Tonight at Georgia Tech’s 2012 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition, media artist Marco Donnarumma of Edinburgh, UK, was awarded first prize for his instrument, Xth Sense, a biophysical, wearable technology that reacts to the vibrations of muscle tissue. Donnarumma was presented $5,000 cash prize by Georgia Tech alumnus Richard Guthman in honor of his musician wife, Margaret.

Excited muscle tissues vibrate in a way that resembles chords of an acoustic instrument—concrete oscillations are diffused through the flesh and, although inaudible to the human ear, they resonate in the air. Xth Sense captures this vibrational force and creates sonic clusters through a novel, free and open framework of hardware and software.

Donnarumma works alongside Dr. Martin Parker at the University of Edinburgh. His research weaves a thread around bio media research, musical and theatrical performance, participatory practices and subversive coding. He is Artist in residence at Inspace (UK) and the National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance (DK).

Inventor-composers from nine countries came to discuss their ideas and perform on their instruments. The ideas were evaluated for musicality, design and engineering by an expert panel including Atau Tanaka, media artist and researcher, Cyril Lance, chief engineer at electronic musical instrument manufacturer Moog Music, and Georgia Tech assistant professor of music Parag Chordia.

This year’s second and third prize winners included:

Preliminary and final performances of all 20 contestants can be found at the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology website.