Make Music With Your Facial Expressions Using FaceOSC

<p>Kyle McDonald&#8217;s latest program uses head and facial movements to make music.</p>

It seems everyone these days is looking for new ways to interact with computers and information. One might even say that we’re entering into “the age of the interface,” where actions and interactions are going to be guided by increasingly invisible and intuitive ways of meshing two environments together. Often it’s to make things easier for ourselves, for instance, by replacing bulky controllers with gesture-controlled interfaces. But aside from all the practical and game-changing use cases and applications for these new interfaces, they can also simply make sitting in front of a screen that much more fun. Kyle McDonald’s latest computer program, FaceOSC, offers an unusual way to interact with your computer by using facial expressions. Utilizing your webcam, the program can track your distance from the screen, the width of your open mouth, and features like your eyebrow and chin movements. It then takes this data and turns it into music, so now singing along to your favorite tunes becomes equivalent to jamming to them.

The program is free to download from his GitHub page and seems easy enough to manipulate for uses other than the more basic musical functions it comes with. This has lead to dozens of videos from individuals using the program in other inventive ways, like tweeting with your eyebrow (below).

McDonald says about his idea:

Your computer has a microphone to listen to you, an accelerometer to know when you drop it, a camera to watch you, an ambient light sensor to know how bright the screen should be. I have to wonder if it makes sense to respond to our pose and facial expressions.

So it may not be long until we are attuning our computers to ourselves and our environments, letting them know what we want without needing to click or type anything at all, perhaps using full body controllers like the Kinect as the default method of interaction. It could make for an interesting time at the office, as co-workers twitch and shuffle their way through the work day.

Jonathan Hammond turns his face into a musical instrument.

How useful FaceOSC is for serious making-music is still to be determined, but as it becomes more precise and incorporates more functionality, there could be some very exciting creative possibilities. For now, it looks like we can all have some fun—and try not to think about how ridiculous we look when we pull those faces.

[via Creative Digital Music]