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Posts Tagged ‘visualization’

My mother took in renters, and the last guy who rented my brother’s old room was a serious tinkerer.

There was no space to move around among all the gadgets and spare parts, but he did manage to squeeze us in when we were around and show us a particularly cool invention.

It was a colorful display on a computer screen that responded to sound, loudness, and rhythm of music.

I was thinking about that guy as I read the story that James Sullivan wrote for the Boston Globe about Bill Sebastian, inventor of “a kind of optical synthesizer called the Outerspace Visual Communicator, or OVC.

“Designed to let the user ‘play’ with images as part of a musical composition, the original OVC was a custom-built keyboard featuring an array of sensors to be brushed with fingertips (‘like fingerpainting’). It created dynamic color changes in the lights on a structure overhead, such as a dome over a concert stage.

“Sebastian performed with the OVC in a few extended runs with Sun Ra and his big band, the Arkestra.”

Now Sebastian has built “a new visual synthesizer — this one in 3-D…

“For the past several months, two fellow engineers and computer programmers have been working …  on proprietary computer programs and prototypes of the new OVC, which, in place of the keyboard and buttons, is operated by hand controllers that look a bit like robotic arms fitted with valves (like those of a trumpet) and sliders (roughly analogous to the frets on a guitar). Sebastian envisions applications for the 3-D OVC ranging from planetariums to virtual reality headsets.” More.

Whatever happened to that guy at my mother’s house? What was his name again?

Photograph of Bill Sebastian, Visual Music Systems, by Dina Rudick, Globe staff

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