Force Dynamics as a Design Framework for Mid-Air Musical Instruments

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In this paper we adopt the theory of force dynamics in human cognition as a fundamental design principle for the development of mid-air musical interfaces. We argue that this principle can provide more intuitive user experiences when the interface does not provide direct haptic feedback – such as interfaces made with various gesture-tracking technologies. Grounded in five concepts from the theoretical literature on force dynamics in musical cognition, the paper presents a set of principles for interaction design focused on five force schemas: Path restraint, Containment restraint, Counter-force, Attraction, and Compulsion. We describe an initial set of examples that implement these principles using a Leap Motion sensor for gesture tracking and SuperCollider for interactive audio design. Finally, the paper presents a pilot experiment that provides initial ratings of intuitiveness in the user experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationBirmingham City University
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventInternational Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Jul 202025 Jul 2020
Conference number: 2020


ConferenceInternational Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression
LocationRoyal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address
SeriesNIME Proceedings


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