Virtual Maestro

Virtual Maestro is an interactive installation that allows users to conduct the BBC Symphony orchestra.

The original version was developed by Tony Churnside and Chris Pike. This used a Kinnect to pick up the movement of the user and then translate the moves into instructions for the orchestra.

Late in 2011 a version of Maestro was required to work as an travelling installation that could be easily set up in the foyer of BBC Symphony orchestra events. I replaced the Kinnect with a webcam and implemented an optical flow algorithm (Lucas Kanade) to analyse the camera stream and interpret conductor instructions – to apply to the orchestra playback.

The system worked incredibly well – sampling a grid of pixels from the image stream and applying left and right movement vectors.

The pixel grid

The project was hugely successful – the applied Lucas Kanade method being recorded in the published paper: The Virtual Maestro – The creation of an immersive, interactive orchestral experience.


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