He got into computer music in the 80's and was really in to George Lewis and the League of Automatic Composers. In 1989 he made PITEL machine listening and improvisation. in Max
He collaborated with an artist to make dancing pig-meat sculptures that dance and listen to people. Robots made of pork. they showed this project in food markets. This is horrible and wonderful.
In 1984, his collaborator decided to be in the robot. So they set up a situation where an audience could torture a guy in a robotic exoskeleton. Actuators would poke at him and pull at him. The part attached to the mouth made him suffer a bit. The audience always asked for the mouth interface. This taught him stuff about audience interactive. Lesson 1: It's not a good idea to let audience torture people.
In 1987-88, they did an opera with robots and another exoskeleton. The system was too big and difficult to control. This looks like it was amazing. He's describing it as a "terrible experience."
In 1995, he did a piece for Disk Klavier. He did a real-time feedback system w/ a sequencer, a piano module, and fx box, to an amp, to a mic, to a pitch converter to the sequencer. He did this 4 times to make a 4-track MIDI score. This gave him a great piece that took maybe a half hour to realise. Simple things can have wonderful results. He has a metaphor of a truck vs a moped. A system that knows too much has too much intertia and are difficult to drive. Something smaller, like a moped is more versatile.
In one hour he made a "Lowtech QWERTYCaster" in 1996, which was a keyboard, a mouse and joystick attached together like a demented keytar.
In 1989, he did some real time synthesis controllable via the internet. It was an opera with electronic parts composer ny internet users. Formed a trio around this instrument called the FMOL Trio in 2001-2002 (their recordings are downloadable). He started doing workshops with kids and is showing a video of working with 5 year olds. They all learned the instrument and then did a concert. This is adorable. He put the different sections in different kinds of hats. The concert is full of electronic sounds and kid noises.
He learned that you have to make things that people like.
Then he got a real job in academia.
Why were so many new interfaces being invented, but nobody uses them?
In a traditional instrument, the performer has to do everything. In laptop music, the computer does everything and the performer only changes things. In live computer music, the control is shared between the performer and the instrument.
Visual feedback becomes very important. Laptop musicians care more about the screen than the mouse. This inspired the reactable, which he began in 2003
Goal: maximised bandwidth - get the most from the human and the most easily understandable communication from the computer to the human. He decided to go with a modular approach. Modular, tablebletop system. He wanted to make instruments that were fun to learn rather than hurty.
A round table has a non-leader position. Many people can play at once. You can become highly skilled at it.
When they started conceiving it, they were not thinking about technology. They developed a lot of tehcnologu like ReacTIVision, which is open source.
They posted some videos on youTube and got to be very popular. They started selling tables to museums. People liked it and the tables are not breaking down.
They started a company. Three work for the company and the presenter is still at the uni. They've done some mobile iApps.
The team quit going to NIME when the company started. They didn't have things new to say. Reviewers didn't think small steps were important.
Instruments need to be able to make bad sounds as well as good ones, or else it is just a toy.