Gestural controller made from elastic fabric and soft circuits. Data is generated by the movement of the performer’s upper body and how she twists and stretches the fabric.
This instrument was created for a series of performances during which my feet had to remain quite static to control some pedals, so all physical expression had to come from my arms and upper body.
Oruga belongs to Ramona, a series of interfaces that aim to enhance the expressiveness of electronic music performance through a series of specific gestures and new materials.
The project was created to offer an alternative to commercial hardware for electronic music performance, where physical movement is highly restricted by traditional dials and switches. Ramona, by contrast, requires the performer to engage her whole body to generate the audio onstage.
This illustration shows the technology embedded in the instrument: stretch-conductive fabric at the center, homemade flex sensors on each side, embedded lights, and a wearable keypad. Connections are made with conductive thread and conductive fabric ribbon. I found it necessary to construct my own flex sensors since the commercial versions I was using tended to break in the midst of performance. The two conductive fabric ribbons carry all data readings and plug into an external box housing a micro controller:
Fabrics in contrasting color and texture are used for the front and the back of the instrument, giving the audience a visual cue for how the instrument is being manipulated. The different textures also help the performer feel how to hold the instrument without looking at it:
Detail of the lights embedded in the front part of the instrument, arranged linearly so the audience can sense how the instrument is being twisted, even in a low-light venue: