SensorWiki - A Collaborative Resource for Researchers and Interface Designers

Participants: Marcelo M. Wanderley
David Birnbaum
Paul Kosek
Joseph Malloch
Mark T. Marshall
Stephen Sinclair
Elliot Sinyor

Sensor glove.
Funding: NSERC Discovery Grant (M. Wanderley)

Project Type: Collaborative project (wiki)

Time Period: 2004– Status: Ongoing.


Project Description

There is a substantial amount of published research about sensors and their applications to new interfaces for musical expression in the form of various papers and recently a book. Although these resources are useful because they have undergone a rigorous editing and review process, most of what is available stops short of providing specific data, such as information on sensor purchasing (where, how much), as this information changes often. To find practical information, one must usually conduct online search to determine what is available for a given task, compare specifications and prices, and finally make contact with a company and place an order. But entering the word “sensor” into a search engine such as Google yields millions of superfluous results. The process is not only extremely time-consuming, it is often repeated unnecessarily because the information gathered each time is not organized and preserved.

Practical information on strain gages: a picture of a strain gage in an interface, a video showing how it works, a diagram for the signal conditioning circuit.


This project reports on the establishment of a resource tool about sensors in music that serves as a single place to gather resources and information, it allows and encourages members of different institutions to share their findings and discoveries, and finally it can be updated quickly and easily as new information becomes available. It is then complementary to other sources of information, such as articles and books.

Example of the Accelerometer page: 5 different accelerometers available with information on purchasing location, pricing, etc.

The Sensor Wiki is currently organized into three sections:

  • A comprehensive list of 20+ sensors most commonly used in new interfaces for musical expression, each with their own sensor description page.
  • A database of references on interfaces and interaction, the ISIDM Working Group (Interactive Systems and Instrument Design in Music), ported from its original location at the ICMA website and updated.
  • A section containing detailed tutorials related to sensor interface design.

A new section on actuators and force-feedback devices is currently being developed.


SensorWiki Website