UNC Asheville students scan augmented reality at Moogfest

By Cory A. Thompson – Asst. Arts and Features Editor

The festival officially began with a panel discussion about the economic value of technology and innovation, but for UNC Asheville students the party started when the business suit crowded filed into the stuffy auditorium and the youth were left to play on the rows of retrofitted Theremins and the cutting edge augmented reality programs.

“In this program the way you walk and the way you interact with your surroundings controls the music that’s played,” said Joe Vassar, a freshman studying new media. “The device reads your brainwaves.”

Destin Lurch, 17, and Caleb Wiseor, 18, from Boone listen as software turns  their brainwaves to music at Moogfest photo by Brian Vu
Destin Lurch, 17, and Caleb Wiseor, 18, from Boone listen as software turns their brainwaves to music at Moogfest
photo by Brian Vu

The application, called Conductar, connects to the user’s brain via a headset that places a sensor on the user’s forehead and another sensor that attaches to the earlobe. This headset connects to a cellphone through Bluetooth and outputs music generated in tune with brain activity. The cellphone’s screen displays a virtual map of the city complete with the location of others users.

“The Theremin is wild,” said Sam Tomaka, a freshman. “This woman was making these incredible noises with these really precise movements. I love that they’re exhibiting all this stuff.

A woman plays a Theremin at a 4 day exhibit at Moogfest.  photo by Brian Vu
A woman plays a Theremin at a 4 day exhibit at Moogfest.
photo by Brian Vu

 

Moogfest participants may rent out headsets and cellphones for the Conductar experience for several hours on any festival day.  The Theremins are also free and open to the public.  The Conductar booth and the will remain in Pack Place for all five days and the Theremins will remain there till Saturday.

Conductar spokespeople  say they plan to make a map of   where Moogfest participants walked while wearing the brain-sensing headgear.  photo by Brian Vu
Conductar spokespeople say they plan to make a map of
where Moogfest participants walked while wearing the brain-sensing headgear.
photo by Brian Vu

Complete Photo Gallery:
http://thebluebanner.net/moogfest-2014-day-one/

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