An MIT staff member writes, "This Media Lab project was launched in 1986 to create new technology and music for expert performers of traditional string instruments. Designed to augment a wide range of traditional musical instruments, the technology has been used by some of the world's foremost performers (Yo-Yo Ma, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Peter Gabriel, and Penn & Teller).
"Expressive gestures can be interpreted and mapped in real time, allowing, for example, a player to affect other sounds (electronics, human voice, etc.) by their bow speed and pressure. By using electronics and advanced computer programming the technology can extend the sonic range of both instument and player.
"In the project's new phase, Hyperviolin work is part of Professor Tod Machover's "Toy Symphony" project, in which it serves as a virtuoso performance instrument in an ensemble including a full orchestra, children's choir, and children playing new music toys.
"In addition to its ability to augment the range and expressiveness of virtuoso musicians, hyperinstruments can also bring creativity and expression to everyday life of folks who don't aspire to perform in Carnegie Hall. The "instruments" include squishy balls and percussive bugs which engage both children and performance-phobic adults, providing fun and easy listening and even composing skills normally achieved after years of study. Music meets technology in a way that's amusing, instructive and even transformative."