Oliver Hödl


Oliver Linus


Journal Articles (peer reviewed)

Exploring the Digital Music Instrument Trombosonic with Extreme Users and at a Participatory Performance

Oliver Hödl, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Simon Holland

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We introduce the "Trombosonic" as a new digital music instrument inspired by the slide trombone. An ultrasonic sensor combined with a red laser allows the performer to play the instrument using similar movements to playing a trombone to change the pitch, despite the absence of a physical slider, by moving one hand back and forth. Additional sensors enhance the potential for musical expression by movement of the whole interface and by using the breath. We identify and discuss a variety of design issues arising from the Trombosonic. Due to its compact size and the lack of a slider, the Trombosonic can be played in many different ways. In order to explore varied potential uses of the Trombosonic, we carried out a series of informal evaluations. These included experts in new musical instruments, an older user, a younger user, an interaction design expert, and the audience at an experimental concert with audience participation. Future work is also discussed. Further technical development might include a built-in microphone to use the human voice and an expansion of the synthesizer’s features.

International Journal on Advances in Intelligent Systems, vol 7 no 3 & 4, 2014. pp. 439-449

Conference Paper (peer reviewed)

Experimence: Considerations for Composing a Rock Song for Interactive Audience Participation

Oliver Hödl, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Simon Holland

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In popular music genres, typical songs are pre-composed and leave little or no space for improvisation during a live performance. That applies for the performing musicians as well as for the spectators in terms of interactive audience participation. In this study we question these improvisational limits and try to identify strategies for involving the audience as an additional and unpredictable factor in a pre-composed rock song. To do so we composed "Experimence" guided by the standard practice of song writing. The song was premiered at a public live concert where the audience could collaboratively participate in real-time by playing with a balloon together throughout the song. Using a wizard of oz technique, the movements of the balloon influenced the live music played by the pianist. We reflect across this experience and present notable issues raised during the composition, rehearsals and the actual performance. We then classify these aspects as abstract variables of consideration for a composition meant to promote such audience participation. We propose this proof of concept as a starting point for further discussion, suggesting that a song such as Experimence can be a unique and individual piece of music every time it is played although largely pre-composed.

In Proceedings of the 40th International Computer Music Conference and the 11th Sound and Music Computing, Athens, Greece. 2014.

Trombosonic: Designing and Exploring a New Interface for Musical Expression in Music and Non-Music Domains

Oliver Hödl, Geraldine Fitzpatrick

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The "Trombosonic" is a new digital music instrument based on the foundational principles of the slide trombone. An ultrasonic sensor combined with a red laser allows the performer to play the instrument using similar movements to playing a trombone to change the pitch, by moving one hand back and forth even though there is no physical slider available. Furthermore, additional sensors enhance musical expression by gestural movement of the whole interface and by using the breath. Due to its compact size and the lack of a slider, the Trombosonic can be played in many different ways. This inspired us to do an informal evaluation to explore the potential applicability of our prototype in different fields and settings other than music. We identified a certain suitability for old and young people and a new possibility for people with restricted mobility to play such a musical instrument. Further development might include a built-in microphone to use the human voice and an expansion of the synthesizer's features.

The Seventh International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, Barcelona, Spain. 2014.

Exploring the Design Space of Hand-Controlled Guitar Effects for Live Music

Oliver Hödl, Geraldine Fitzpatrick

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Many new interfaces for musical expression are hand or gesture controlled. For guitarists especially, this opens new ways to control sound effects while playing live. At the same time it is a challenge regarding the conception and design of such hand-controlled effects as guitarists usually use both hands for playing. In this paper we elaborate this particular design space to support future development. For this purpose we analyse four different examples of controllers that already in use and one purpose-built prototype called "UniCoMP" (Universal Control for Musical Performances). For the latter we additionally present the results of an evaluation during a live concert. Our study illustrates that hand-controlled guitar effects are a powerful alternative for traditional foot-controlled devices keeping in mind important design issues.

International Computer Music Conference, Perth, Australia. 2013.

Elements of Play for Cognitive, Physical and Social Health in Older Adults

Fares Kayali, Naemi Luckner, Oliver Hödl, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Peter Purgathofer, Tanja Stamm, Daniela Schlager-Jaschky, Erika Mosor

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An increasingly older demographic emphasizes the need to deal with a likewise increasing number of people with cognitive disabilities like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. While no cure exists the preventive potential of activities in the areas of reminiscence, cognitive, social and physical activity has been recognized. This paper looks at the possibilities of technological interventions in this field from a game design perspective. The paper follows the core research question “Which elements of play can be used in a playful holistic application combining reminiscence, cognitive, social and physical activities to prevent or postpone the development of cognitive disabilities such as dementia for older adults?” Examples are qualitatively analysed and lead to the identification of the elements auto-biographical play, musical play, kinaesthetic play, objectbased play, adaptive play, collaborative play and role playing. The list of these elements is expendable and lays the foundation for a holistic design space.

SouthCHI, Maribor, Slovenia. Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 7946, 2013, pp 296-313, Springer. 2013.

Designing interactive audience participation using smart phones in a musical performance

Oliver Hödl, Fares Kayali, Geraldine Fitzpatrick

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In this paper we describe the design and evaluation of an interactive system for audience participation in live performances using smart phones to control the stereo panorama of the lead guitar. The system was developed through feedback from both spectators and artists. The evaluation was conducted during a live concert and builds on interviews and video analysis. Findings include that musicians seem to be cautious about giving up control and that the audience at the same time wants a reasonable amount of control and clear feedback which in turn can be obtrusive to other spectators. We outline that balancing constraints with affordances is the key to both the audience's and musicians' acceptance of such a system and that a playful participatory design process can lead to better results in this regard. It is also shown that using smart phones opens up a large possibility space but at the same time their use has to be subtle to not distract too much from the music.

International Computer Music Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Proceedings, pp. 236-241. 2012.

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Workshop Paper (peer reviewed)

A gait rehabilitation pilot study using tactile cueing following hemiparetic stroke

Simon Holland, Rachel Wright, Alan Wing, Thomas Crevoisier, Oliver Hödl, Maxime Canelli

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Recovery of walking function is a major goal of post-stroke rehabilitation. Audio metronomic cueing has been shown to improve gait, but can be impractical and inconvenient to use in a community setting, for example outdoors where awareness of traffic is needed, as well as being unsuitable in environments with high background noise, or for those with a hearing impairment. Silent lightweight portable tactile cueing, if similarly successful, has the potential to take the benefits out of the lab and into everyday life. The Haptic Bracelets, designed and built at the Open University originally for musical purposes, are selfcontained lightweight wireless devices containing a computer, Wi-Fi chip, accelerometers and low-latency vibrotactiles with a wide dynamic range. In this paper we outline gait rehabilitation problems and existing solutions, and present an early pilot in which the Haptic Bracelets were applied to post-stroke gait rehabilitation.

REHAB 2014, 2nd Patient Rehabilitation Research Techniques Workshop, Oldenburg, Germany. 2014.

From Research to Design - Sketching a Game to Trigger Reminiscence in Older Adults

Naemi Luckner, Fares Kayali, Oliver Hödl, Peter Purgathofer, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Erika Mosor, Daniela Schlager-Jaschky, Tanja Stamm

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This contribution describes a series of design sketches for a playful digital application designed to trigger reminiscence in older adults. The goal of the intervention is to be a preventive measure against cognitive disabilities such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that reminiscence and cognitive activities are beneficial in this area. The presented sketches have been developed as part of a design workshop and are based upon the results of a focus group study which involved older adults, their families, experts and care personnel. The ideas are all rooted within the context of the project which re-volves around the playful use of media such as photos, video clips and audio re-cordings. These personal media artifacts shall trigger reminiscence and engage players cognitively.

SouthCHI, Maribor, Slovenia. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 7946, pp. 617-624, Springer. 2013.

Master Thesis

A Case Study on Project Management Process Improvement at a Turn-Key Software Solution Company

Oliver Hödl

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The main purpose of this study is an analysis of the management of turn-key solution projects together with the problems and difficulties likely to be encountered. The standardized and wide-spread methodologies PRINCE2 and Six Sigma were used as theoretical project management methods and are described in detail to explain to the reader the principles of these methodologies. With regard to the chosen methodologies, Sun Microsystems Austria was chosen as the environment to carry out the study. The company's project management is based on PRINCE2 and Six Sigma and so Sun is suitable for the primary purpose. On this basis the aim was to find out problems which may occur when implementing projects in turn-key solution companies. The analysis of the project management at the company brought the expected results. There is quite a difference between the given theory and the practice of project management. The study gives a detailed insight and points out the problems that vary from bad documentation and lack of communication to deficiencies of knowledge and administrative problems. Further research possibilities might be studies with companies that use the same methodologies or similar companies that use other methodologies.

Master Thesis at the Vienna University of Technology, 2005.

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