Concepton

a device that is generating concepts


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Artificial Conductor

Why there is a conductor for orchestra? Actually there are many reasons, even though musicians can play without a conductor (and sometimes they actually do).

Question is – can we make a better conductor by making the artificial system that could answer all the needs and maybe do things that could improve the performance of the orchestra?

Let’s  take several primary reasons and try to refer to each while replacing each functionality by technical capability.

  1. Synchronization
    In a large orchestra, the time taken for the sound to travel is long and ear-based feedback of musicians is insufficient (even if heard) and causing the lag.
  2. Start/Stop
    Not just for the beginning, but for the resting of musicians. Especially for brass, woodwind and percussion players, there can be considerable stretches of time when they are not required.
  3. Make sure that the volume of the instruments balances so nothing is drowned out
    It is very hard to synchronize the volume in large orchestra, so conductor is helping to stabilize it.
  4. Phrasing, tempo, bowings and general style
    Those are the elements that conductor shall dictate to the members of the ensemble.
  5. And… the Show.

To do this, we can provide the pre-programmed system with distributed audio sensors and visual central and distributed interfaces.

orch2

Required features of the system:

  1. Conductor display to provide centralized signals such as beginning and stop, including preparation indicator
  2. Local displays to be aligned with the instrument, position, adjust to and present a sheet music (it. partitura) and have personal musician’s configuration.
  3. Local displays to provide begin signals and preparation
  4. Compensation of delays (TDR) and full alignment between all local stations
  5. Audio sensors and volume/misalignment feedback to local stations.
  6. Gathering of audio data for analysis and post-performance feedback and continuous improvement of the ensemble.
  7. The show/experience component might be intensified by leveraging the real-time data and showing some powerful visuals for people in the concert. In addition the system can provide the visual streaming from local stations so people could see the people behind the performance.
  8. Visual tempo/phrasing/dynamics conductor display. Something like this (sketch): ac

Obviously there is a need in a preparations and this might be just an instrument in the hands of the professionals, but this direction can scale up the use of conducting and maybe even improve it 😉

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Annual Feedback quantitative analysis

Yes, I am more than 10 years in Intel Electronics and every year I’ve got the annual feedback (called “Focal”). I thought to look at the nature of the work that I am doing by analyzing the semantic data of those documents. From confidentiality reasons I cannot bring parts of it here, but I can show you some quantitative analysis that I ran on the data.

Among various perspectives, I wanted to look at the verbs that are used there to describe my accomplishments (one out of three components together with “strength” and “areas for improvement”). Out of 30 paragraphs (3 each year) and 4.1k words in total, here is the distribution of all top verbs (overall about 200):

Accomplishments-Verbs

The thought was that verbs of accomplishments are the nature of the work. Now, when I look at it, the direction is amazingly correct – this is what I actually did.

Taking “worked” as a baseline (100%), I have calculated the rate for the rest of verbs relatively.

In addition, grouping verbs by their nature (excluding neutral “worked”), I can tell now, precisely how my work looks like:

nature of work

Know yourself. 🙂


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Ropes and the Perception of Risk

Couple days ago I had an amazing experience at Kos Island (Greece) and tried a ropes course, where I had to pass through all the stages of the cool facility, going from one column to another over the ropes and bricks with increasing complexity. It looked like this:

DSC_1390a

Six phases x three wings x two levels i.e. 36 stages of fun and challenge for my equilibrium. Beyond the unique experience, I learned something very interesting from the instructor (on the pic above, he is at the middle stage, waiting for me).

After I have passed several stages, he said to me: “You know that there are three points of support, required for equilibrium here. One is the left leg, another is right leg, while the third is usually the hand.” Indeed, I have mentioned that to feel stable, I had to hold the rope (or anything else available) with (at least 🙂 one hand. “BUT the interesting part is that you DO NOT HAVE TO HOLD the rope. It is enough just TO TOUCH it. Even slightly with the side of the finger”. Obviously I have tried it and it was amazing! I could relatively freely walk while tip of the finger was touching the rope, and at the same time I could not walk from the moment after it was detached. So for me it was no more the holding rope, but just the reference point.

Immediately as an engineer I thought about the negative feedback that my brain required to do this task, I thought about sensing lines from power electronics, I thought about feedback in control system of my brain, I thought about continuity of nerve that is running from my finger to some place in the brain and realized that this third point, required for the equilibrium was not actually the finger itself, but that place in the brain that required this sensing for better control of my body.

Now I need to distinguish my experience from a single line “Tightrope walking” (funambulism) or slacklining where there are a totally different biomechanics and brain control of the balance.

tightrope-walker

I am talking about purely psychological effect of the fear of the failure where you can “easily” go at the height of half a meter and make not a single step at fifty meters. I am talking about effect that you slowly go two thirds of the path and then run freely when you see the end.

This was very much related to the work I am doing these days on Risk Modeling in Complex Systems generally and on Perception of Risk particularly. I shall release some interesting parts of the work here… By now, to touch the Perception of Risk model, I would like to mention two major components of the risk – Perception of the probability of failure and Perception of the impact of failure. Each of those components got multiple assessment biases and this is a whole separate talk by itself. In this case of equilibrium reference point, the signal in the brain was impacting the part, responsible for mitigation of the failure probability component of risk perception, since the impact of the failure was same. The mitigation was possible because of the constant signal to my brain that in case of loss of balance, would ensure that the hand is very close to the rope to catch it. If this is true, then the brain mapping (if it is going one day possible not in static lab conditions) of walking person at the same height with and without the finger touched, would show the area of brain that is responsible for the Perception of Probability component of risk, while the different heights would expose the area responsible for the Perception of the Failure Impact.

Interesting that once I passed some stage the second time it was much simpler to detach the finger and in some cases even not use the hand at all and stretch out my arms to increase the moment of inertia for better balance. It was nearly impossible for me to do it for the first time per stage due to the lack of risk assessment and perceptional bias (a.k.a. fear)))).


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Rear Zone Visualization – Cont

In previous article I have described a concept of system that can be implemented already today and can save lots of lives as it is treating one of major risk factors of fatal car accidents – keeping a safe distance.

This part is an additional short elaboration on technical details:

Let’s see what are the variables that play in the model.

Image

Pic. 1 – Rear Zone Visualization chart

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