Music-making can be a full-body experience, whether its interacting with an instrument or using your voice, for example. This immersive feeling is usually missing with today’s electronic music instruments, but soon the gap in experience can be bridged with haptic technology – tactile perception conveyed through the skin, such as vibration in the case of Lofelt technology.
In the early '90s, the computer started transitioning from an office tool to being used as a musical instrument. From that point in time, it steadily took over almost every aspect of the professional music studio. As these digital tools became more accessible to emerging artists, the computer moved into the affordable bedroom studio to replace physical instruments, tape machines, mixers, and audio processors.
From the Atari ST, the computer evolved into the single monolithic solution for all aspects of music-making, thanks to their massive processing power. However, the typewriter-style interface imposes heavy limitations on the performer, due to the setup and motions required, as well as the “feel” of the computer being far removed from the experience of playing many types of instruments.
In the coming years, digital music making and production will break out of the computer and diversify toward a modular approach with “smart” hardware devices that integrate and connect seamlessly, while offering dedicated haptic interfaces for multimodal augmented feedback. As part of that trend, music and other forms of entertainment will continue to evolve into immersive experiences. As a result, even more of the senses will be engaged and utilize the powerful ways in which we take in information: sight (screens, head-mounted displays); hearing (speakers, headphones); haptics (robots, vibrotactile actuators); or, a combination of them. The idea of Lofelt haptic technology originates from this desire – to make digital music interfaces feel more alive, just like a physical instrument where you feel the vibrating string on your finger tips.
Haptic innovations such as Lofelt audio-to-haptic technology will become part of future tactile instruments and help turn sterile interfaces into something that feels natural. Lofelt has partnered with a musical instruments manufacturer famous for some of the most unique and creative musical gear on the market and will release a synthesizer with built-in haptics later this year.