If Hands Could Sing

If Hands Could Sing

School of Music | Faculty of Arts
Share Story Related Content Add to my report

While many people talk with their hands, so to speak, a team of UBC professors has now made it possible to talk—or rather, sing—through a pair of gloves.

Developed by a team led by Sidney Fels, in the department of electrical and computer engineering and Robert Pritchard, a researcher at the UBC Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS) and the UBC Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC), the technology, called a digital ventriloquist actor (DIVA), produces a singing voice when manually activated by a hand moving within electrically wired gloves. The motion-sensing gloves create a frequency based on their position; the right hand controls vowels (an open hand), and consonants (a closed hand), while the height of the hand determines the pitch. Meanwhile, the left hand controls stop consonants like Bs and Ds.

“From a compositional perspective, what I’m interested in is expanding the tools available to provide an emotional experience in the concert hall,” says Pritchard, in an interview with Gizmodo. “We’re able to give one person two voices. So they can do a duet with themselves.”

Future uses for the device could involve giving people with speech impairments the ability to speak without sign language or an interpreter.


Related Content

Sidney Fels (left) and Bob Pritchard (center) testing the DIVA Harness Credit: Johnty Wang

“We’re able to give one person two voices. So they can do a duet with themselves.” – Robert Pritchard, UBC Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS) and UBC Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre

Associated Commitment

Research Excellence

Associated Campus

Vancouver Campus


“The aria, after all, is the soul of opera.” ~ Richard Strauss https://t.co/EhreCAZUgx
about an hour ago.
RT @MusicCentreBC: Can’t wait for Morlock Night tonight for Jocelyn Morlock’s CD Launch - @MarinaHasselber & Miranda Wong; Wine; CD’s! http…
about 22 hours ago.
If you're out of town tonight, watch the @UBCOpera Ariadne auf Naxos live webcast! Fri Jun 23 — https://t.co/FgIFtSpB3X
about 23 hours ago.
Saxophonist & UBC Music lecturer Julia Nolan performs w/ @VancouverWCSOtonight! https://t.co/XrGkmw9nGz https://t.co/d0gYK4JcxF
1 day ago.
Excited for the Vancouver #JazzFestival? Check out @TPE_Vancouver Jun 27+28 @coastaljazz https://t.co/ItbeklYrDN https://t.co/uszfNRqM0k
1 day ago.
RT @ChanCentre: The @UBC Rose Garden beside the Chan Centre is in full bloom. Stop by and smell the roses! 🌹 https://t.co/KfuTzFx7NA
1 day ago.
Good tip. 🙂 https://t.co/WmxKSnvsFD
1 day ago.
Can't make it in person? Watch @UBCOpera Ariadne auf Naxos live webcasts: Jun 22 — https://t.co/gX35dMRSb5 Jun 23 — https://t.co/gE9zXvYQFi
1 day ago.
Alum @JocelynMorlock releases new CD! UBC Music faculty Miranda Wong performs at CD release concert; several facult… https://t.co/wDXc9995Wo
1 day ago.
Exciting program— Ariadne auf Naxos opens tonight! 🎶 Enjoy the music & pick up a @UBCOpera 17–18 season brochure… https://t.co/yBdb6GATvY
1 day ago.

Leave a Reply