Searching for the Perfect Instrument: Increased Telepresence through Interactive Evolutionary Instrument Design

Chauhan, Dhruv and Bennett, Peter

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

In this paper, we introduce and explore a novel Virtual Reality musical interaction system (named REVOLVE) that utilises a user-guided evolutionary algorithm to personalise musical instruments to users’ individual preferences. REVOLVE is designed towards being an ‘endlessly entertaining’ experience through the potentially infinite number of sounds that can be produced. Our hypothesis is that using evolutionary algorithms with VR for musical interactions will lead to increased user telepresence. In addition to this, REVOLVE was designed to inform novel research into this unexplored area. Think aloud trials and thematic analysis revealed 5 main themes: control, comparison to the real world, immersion, general usability and limitations, in addition to practical improvements. Overall, it was found that this combination of technologies did improve telepresence levels, proving the original hypothesis correct.