Sense/Stage is a research-creation project to develop small, low cost and low power wireless sensor hardware together with software infrastructure specifically for use in live theater, dance and music performance as well as for the design of interactive, real-time environments involving distributed, heterogeneous sensing modalities.
The project emerged from a desire to address a novel, emerging research ﬁeld: distributed, wireless sensing networks for real-time composition using many forms of output media including sound, video, lighting, mechatronic and actuation devices and similar. The design of interactive environments using diverse output media increasingly involves the mapping of many channels of real-time sensor data to control the temporal behavior of such media. Standard mapping techniques with sensors that have been derived from the ”instrument building” paradigm usually address only small numbers of sensors or participants and may not scale well to larger spaces. Systems involving large numbers of sensors and participants are rare, custom-designed, and expensive. Furthermore, while wireless sensors and wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are being increasingly deployed daily in areas such as health care, defense, seismology and home security, there are scant examples of such technologies in artistic projects simply due to the lack of available hardware/software infrastructure for artists to use.
Most work in sensor networks has been in areas of applied technology development without artistic aims or is restricted to lab settings. Based on these factors, Sense/Stage has developed a fully integrated hardware and software infrastructure that is intuitive to use by artists and designers, is scaleable to many nodes and performs data acquisition, transmission, conditioning, sharing and compositional tasks all within the same system.