DJ Sets Driven by Dancers Movements

In this series I go trolling through the patent databases to pull up next level concepts that may be years from hitting the market place. Today, we un-earthed a patent covering the use of peoples movements to drive the tempo of an automatic mixing system. The logical use is in runners and workouts but a possible extension also covered is on the dance floor. One obvious problem though, is that people dance to the music – and not the other way around. Any ideas how this technology could be used to track the energy of dancers in an effective way?

One general problem with patents is that they are so broadly phrased, bizarrely written and generally nuts that its possible to get most patents to cover almost anything- with the right lawyer and enough cash. That, however, is a discussion for another article. For now, onto the patent in question.

Patent #7,599,685 –  October 2009

Abstract
The invention generally pertains to a hand-held computing device. More particularly, the invention pertains to a computing device that is capable of controlling the speed of the music so as to affect the mood and behavior of the user during an activity such as exercise. By way of example, the speed of the music can be controlled to match the pace of the activity (synching the speed of the music to the activity of the user) or alternatively it can be controlled to drive the pace of the activity (increasing or decreasing the speed of the music to encourage a greater or lower pace). One aspect of the invention relates to adjusting the tempo (or some other attribute) of the music being outputted from the computing device. By way of example, a songs tempo may be increased or decreased before or during playing. Another aspect of the invention relates to selecting music for outputting based on tempo (or some other attribute). For example, the computing device may only play songs having a particular tempo. Yet another aspect of the invention relates to both selecting music based on tempo and adjusting the tempo of the music.

 

Highlighted section of the detail

In accordance with one embodiment, the media player is configured to control the tempo of the music being outputted from the media player based on the signal from the sensor. In the case of a body metric such as body motion or heartbeat, the sensor measures a body metric and converts the body metric into a signal indicative of the body metric. The signal is sent to the processor that analyzes the signal and extracts tempo information from the body metric signal. The processor then refers to a set of rules that tell the processor how to affect the music being outputted based on the tempo information. The rules may for example be stored in the memory block. After consulting the rules, the processor may select a particular song for outputting based on the tempo information. (i.e., select a song that has a tempo that matches the tempo information, select a song that has a tempo greater than the tempo information, select a song that has a tempo that is lower than the tempo information). Additionally or alternatively, the processor may modify the song itself based on the tempo information (i.e., increase or decrease the tempo of the song in accordance with the tempo of the body metric).

In one embodiment, the rules are embodied in a tempo control program for controlling the tempo of the music to be outputted. The tempo program may be accessed by a user through a tempo control menu, which may be viewed on the display device 170 as part of a GUI interface. The tempo control menu may include various options. In fact, the tempo control menu may serve as a control panel for reviewing and/or customizing the tempo control settings, i.e., the user may quickly and conveniently review the tempo control settings and make changes thereto. Once changed, the modified tempo control settings will be automatically saved and thereby employed to handle future tempo processing.

The tempo control program may include a beat synch module that is configured to modify the outgoing audio. For example, it is capable of adjusting the tempo of the music being outputted from the music player system. Once a song has been selected, the audio associated with the song is played so that a user can listen to the song. If the beat synch module is activated, it will adjust the tempo of the playing audio based on the tempo obtained from the sensor. The adjustment may be made using an algorithm capable of adjusting the tempo in a non-trivial manner. The algorithm may for example be associated with phase vocoding or SFFT processing. Phase vocoding is a complex signal processing technique that includes elements of LPC (linear predictive coding). It uses continuous and overlapping Fourier transforms of a sound for several related objectives ranging from resynthesis, and timbral interpolation from one sound to another, to time stretching (altering the tempo without affecting the pitch) and pitch shifting (transposition of a sound without altering the tempo). Traktor DJ studio manufactured by Native Instruments of Germany is one example of a program that uses phase vocoding.

 

Now if you are really bored or have a un-natural love of excessively wordy documents  – check out the full patent here. 

  • Brent_stallings

    i definatley pondered this idea. with 360 connect like devices to gather info. Possibly when people are starting to get tired is when a “break down ” should occur. I think its time to let the dancers control the floor.

  • Jhboulder

    Although it would require additional equipment, I believe that this concept could be easily adapted to be incredibly useful. One of the wonderful things about “Dance Music” is that once the dance floor starts moving, their heartbeats slowly rise to about 130 BPM, the same tempo as the music, which gives a psychosomatic ecstasy of feeling the bass throughout your body, which is intensified when your heartbeat starts to actually synchronize to the beats in the music. By being able to somehow monitor the HEARTRATES of the people on the dance floor, the tempo of the music can be synced to the average heartrate on the dancefloor to achieve this same psychosomatic effect at any BPM.

    I’ll take my patent now please…

  • sorry had to add this one..
    Any reading device is totally redundant in a Minimal House Club….

  • Considering this device has to be worn in order to operate it means all participants would have to wear a meter. Times that by 1000 and we’re talking a lot of processing power just for a computer to evaluate that people are dancing in rhythm to the music, although it is highly likely latency is going to have to be compensated for.
    To me the device would work well as an electronic personal trainer (as the diagram suggests). Anyone who’s used Polar heart rate monitors should know about electronic training programs. In a nut shell; you do what the program is demanding. The way this device would work, is that it will detect then the user is fatigued and actively slow down the pace as not to over stress muscles, stop the user from entering their lactate threshold to often in an effort to prevent injury and create an optimum training session.
    Translating this to a dance floor means the system is either acting actively, i.e. pushing the crowd or passively (reacting to the crowd) As a DJ in a club we very rarely change the tempo that would make a noticeable difference. Unless you’re playing a mixture of genres you are pretty much stuck at a specific tempo, with a very marginal fluctuation. Changing tempo is and has mainly been about dance floor rotation. We do it when we notice a decrease in participation, which should suggest fatigue. The principle is to get that crowd off the floor, which would ultimately send them to the bar and another set of people would enter the dance floor who like that tempo. This of course is the theory and it is always a risk assessment on whether it will work or not. The average person can only handle 30 minutes or real physical activity and this can either play to your advantage or against it. The against is that you will tire out your audience which could leave an empty club floor for the rest of the night. It can work to your advantage if your event ends at 01:00 Hrs and you push the crowd to exhaustion, so that for the last half hour you can play a small cool down session that physiologically switches people into leaving on their own accord instead of them shouting and jeering that you’ve turn the music off at the end of the event.
    If there is one thing I’ve noticed more than ever this year is that it’s not the equipment you use, it’s not how good you can blend one song into the next; It’s still all about track selection. The question has to asked whether such a device could detect a change in the crowd and the system play the right song to either get those sitting down dancing or those dancing to sit down.
    My view is; it couldn’t… but let’s never say never.

  • Mr JeZzA

    no offence but if you’re a dj who needs a computer reading pressure sensors on the floor to tell you how the room is going instead of looking out and being able to tell with your own senses you are doing djs a disservice by calling yourself one.

  • Balkadan

    Doing a Google search, reading through some pages and then copying & pasting the whole thing with just a little introductory paragraph is not an article.

    I expected more debate and less legal writing…

  • scsheep

    planning on using a kinect for my dissertation, using crowd ammount of movement coupled with the music to produce an automated VJ set . Very interested in the whole concept of making clubbing a much more group participation, rather than all the focus on the DJ.

  • Using 1 or multiple kinects, you could point them at the crowd and have a program that will rate the relative level of movement as increasing or decreasing with the current song selection.  From there, you use a few different types of songs that were selected to cover a mass spectrum of beat styles, and see which type got the most reaction, tailoring the rest of the night closer to that style.  It would be like automatic Hot or Not for your ears, based on the crowd reaction.

  • Using 1 or multiple kinects, you could point them at the crowd and have a program that will rate the relative level of movement as increasing or decreasing with the current song selection.  From there, you use a few different types of songs that were selected to cover a mass spectrum of beat styles, and see which type got the most reaction, tailoring the rest of the night closer to that style.  It would be like automatic Hot or Not for your ears, based on the crowd reaction.

    • KirmiJ

      Why don’t we take it to the next level. Imagine a device equipped with state-of-the-art visual, depth and sonic sensors coupled with a super-fast analysis module that could correlate dance floor mood with past and current playing tracks. It could then predict the best tunes to alter or maintain the mood on the dance floor in a way that will not only make people have fun but also increase the venue’s income….
      Oh wait… that sounds remarkably similar to a DJ…

  • str80180

    Cool concept, I don’t think it would be very applicable to the dancefloor though. It would be cool if dancers movements triggered lights, which change colour depending on key were modulated by the dynamics of the music being played, that would be pretty interactive for punters and djs alike

  • Brent Silby

    I remember talking to a friend about this sort of thing back in the early 1990s. The idea was that the dance floor would be built out of pressure plates so that the computer would “know” when people were slowing down, thus losing interest in the music being played. It would then change the music style. Problem is, how does the computer choose what music to switch to. You really need a human DJ up there who can understand human desires and intentions. Human DJs look cooler than computers too.

    • Have you seen “Deep Thought” from HGTTG? Would be a cool DJ.

    • Evolakim

      “Human DJs look cooler than computers too.”

      You sure about that?

    • Remotes

      But Robot DJs look better than Human DJs, see Daft Punk for reference

    • Breakdowns would be a problem for the computer mind you.

      I think relaying the info to the DJ box could be a useful stat to have for reference. You could make it into a competition to see who can get the FRS (Floor Richter Scale) up the highest.

      Or just see how much impact some types of music have on foot movement.

      Or perhaps just to just warn you that the dancefloor emptied because you played Justin Beiber by accident.

    • Breakdowns would be a problem for the computer mind you.

      I think relaying the info to the DJ box could be a useful stat to have for reference. You could make it into a competition to see who can get the FRS (Floor Richter Scale) up the highest.

      Or just see how much impact some types of music have on foot movement.

      Or perhaps just to just warn you that the dancefloor emptied because you played Justin Beiber by accident.

  • this idea would be cool if instead of controlling the music, the dj could get a read out so he knows what the crowd is doing as apposed to just looking out into a sea of people to guess what is happening

  • this idea would be cool if instead of controlling the music, the dj could get a read out so he knows what the crowd is doing as apposed to just looking out into a sea of people to guess what is happening

  • this idea would be cool if instead of controlling the music, the dj could get a read out so he knows what the crowd is doing as apposed to just looking out into a sea of people to guess what is happening

  • this idea would be cool if instead of controlling the music, the dj could get a read out so he knows what the crowd is doing as apposed to just looking out into a sea of people to guess what is happening