Immersive Sensors

This suite of sensors were developed for deployment in the Brain Opera performance space. Originally, we had intended to instrument the entire performance theater, in order to use audience motion in the music and graphics generation. Although these ideas evolved and eventually downscaled, the required sensor systems were actually developed for the Brain Opera, but are not yet implemented in the shows. They have been already used, however, at the Media Lab for several corridor installations.

A Sensor Floor, composed of a 6 x 10 foot mat surface atop a matrix of 64 pressure-sensitive piezoelectric (PVDF) wires, measures the position and intensity of footsteps, turning them into MIDI note events. The upper body motion is sensed above this region with a pair of quadrature-demodulated 2.4 GHz Doppler radars with beams formed by flat, 4-element micropatch arrays. These devices produce MIDI controller values corresponding to amount of motion, velocity, and direction of motion, projected normal to the radiators. In addition, an 8-channel MIDI-controlled ranging sonar system (using simple pulse-echo detection with 40 kHz piezoceramic heads and a TVG) has been developed to monitor remote distance to people and objects from 1 to 25 feet away.

Click here for a much newer page that gives much more details.


Joe Paradiso - Coordination, signal processing, sonar system
Matt Reynolds - Doppler Radar units
Craig Abler -Sensor Carpet Design
Joel Rosenberg - Electronics Support
Ed Hammond - Construction of original radar circuitry
Kai-Yuh Hsiao, Josh Stricken - Music Software

Click here to go back to the main index page.