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Thursday, October 06, 2022

Gainesville startup eMotion creates living music technology

Musicians will find even more reasons to move their feet with new motion-sensor technology for their instruments.

Gainesville startup eMotion Technologies debuted its Kickstarter campaign Monday in an effort to find a second round of beta testers. Kickstarter, an online crowdsourcing website, is popular among startups that seek funding.

EMotion was founded in June 2011 by Chet Udell as his music composition thesis for his Ph.D. at UF. He created the system to bring musical instrument technology to 2013.

The technology mimics Guitar Hero, a popular video game that uses motion sensors to match the player’s movements with actions on-screen.

The real-life version of this technology features a sensor hub that’s a little longer than a pack of cards. The hub communicates wirelessly with a variety of small sensors musicians attach directly to their instruments, said eMotion spokeswoman Vanessa Calas, a 21-year-old UF public relations junior.

The company’s Smart Instrument Control System allows musicians to create their own presets for sensors via partnered open-source software.

The sensors measure different environmental conditions such as motion, humidity and pressure. Calas said the software allows the musician to use these cues to control factors such as lighting, drum tracks and guitar distortion.

“You can control your entire environment using movement,” she said.

This technology has the ability to reduce the need for lighting and soundboard technicians by at least half, Calas said, making these additions available to all musicians.

“We want this to be as accessible as possible to everyone,” she said.

Janae Lafleur, a 22-year-old first year UF costume design graduate student, worries this could be detrimental to technicians’ careers.

Lafleur, who has played guitar since she was 13, also works as a sound and light technician.

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“I think it would catch on for small venues,” she said, “but it would never be able to do what real light and sound technicians could.”

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