A Non-Tactile Electronic Musical Instrument for Solo and Collaborative Playing

IRIS, or InfraRed Instrument of Stars, is a versatile electronic musical instrument built to be played solo or as an ensemble. IRIS’s dodecahedron shape and accompanying constellation patterns are modeled off of a children’s star lamp. The instrument is composed of twenty infrared proximity sensors. Using the same principles as the Theremin for “air gestures,” the performer plays IRIS by placing their hands in the air around the instrument. The sensors are used to control various musical parameters in Max, a visual programming language, using Wekinator, a machine learning software, with the goal of being able to shape a sonic environment. In addition, its built-in LEDs create an immersive visual experience for the performer and audience. While one player alone can play IRIS by moving around it, its particular shape makes it accessible from all sides, allowing it to be played by multiple people.