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Hi, I'm Joren. Welcome to my website. I'm a researcher in the field of Music Informatics, Music Information Retrieval, and Computational Ethnomusicology. Here you can find a record of my research and other projects I have been working on. Learn more »

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Joren Six
joren.six@ugent.be
University Ghent, IPEM

~ Ipem at Opening Event Digital Week

Last Saturday, October eight 2016, IPEM was present at the opening event of the digital week. A small video report was made for VRT news, unfortunately our contribution did not make the cut.

Van 8 tot en met 16 oktober 2016 loopt de elfde editie van de De Digitale Week. Plaatselijke organisaties in heel Vlaanderen en Brussel organiseren tijdens deze week diverse laagdrempelige activiteiten waarbij het gebruik van multimedia centraal staat, steeds gratis of zeer goedkoop, en open voor zowel beginners als mensen met wat meer ervaring. Daarnaast loopt er tijdens de Digitale Week een grote publiciteitscampagne die aandacht vraagt voor de thema’s e-inclusie en mediawijsheid.

  • Overview of our installation

    Overview of our installation


~ IPEM at Parklife 2016

This weekend IPEM, the research institute in musicology of University Ghent, was present at Parklife 2016. Parklife is a music festival with a special focus on interactive music installations aimed at children. Two of those were provided by IPEM.

The first installation was a trampoline that triggered sounds. Two trampoline were provided with a pressure sensor. An Axoloti provides the sonic feedback. A simple but fun experience especially for younger children.

The second installation was more involved. It consisted of a bike – controlled by a first participant – that provided the speed of falling blocks that a second participant had to step on. When the second participant triggered the blocks on time a melody appeared. The video above makes it more clear.


~ Real-time signal synchronization with acoustic fingerprinting - A Master's Thesis By Ward Van Assche

During the last semester Ward wrote a Masters thesis titled Real-time signal synchronization with acoustic fingerprinting. For his thesis Marleen Denert and I served both as promoter.

The aim of the thesis was to design and develop a system to automatically synchronize streams of incoming sensor data in real-time. Ward followed up on an idea that was described in an article called Synchronizing Multimodal Recordings Using Audio-To-Audio Alignment. The extended abstract can be consulted. The remainder of the thesis is in Dutch.

For the thesis Ward developed a Max/MSP object to read data from sensors together with audio. Also provided by Ward is an object to synchronize audio and data in real-time. The objects are depicted above.


~ Connecting Musical Modules - Musical Hardware and Software Interfaces

Axoloti logo I have given a presentation at the the Newline conference, a yearly event organized by the Hackerspace Ghent. It was about:

“In this talk I will give a practical overview on how to connect hard- and software components for musical applications. Next to an overview there will be demos! Do you want to make a musical instrument using a light sensor? Use your smartphone as an input device for a synth? Or are you simply interested in simple low-latency communication between devices? Come to this talk! More concretely the talk will feature the Axoloti audio board, Teensy micro-controller with audio board, MIDI and OSC protocols, Android MIDI features and some sensors.”

During the presentation the hard and software components were demonstrated. More concretely an introduction was given to the following:

The presentation about DIY musical modules can be downloaded here.


~ Lecture on MIR - Tone Scale Extraction - Acoustic Fingerprinting

This morning, the 30th of October 2015, I gave a lecture on Music Information Retrieval in general and two MIR-tasks in particular. The two more detailed tasks were tone scale analysis and acoustic fingerprinting.

A slide

During the lecture some live demonstrations were done with Panako and Tarsos. Also some examples from TarsosDSP were used. Excerpts of the music used is available here, this is especially interesting if you want to repeat the demos. Sonic visualizer, Music21 and MuseScore were also mentioned during the lecture.

The presentation about Music Information Retrieval and the handouts can be found here als well.


~ TgForce Sensor on Android

Kelsec Systems developed a nice sensor for measuring running impact, the TgForce Running Impact Sensor. The sensor comes with an IOS application but has no available counterpart on Android. To interface with the sensor on Android I needed to create some glue code. The people of Kelsec Systems were kind enough to mail some documentation about the protocol and with that information I got to work.

The TgForce Sensor Android code is available on GitHub, together with some documentation which is available below as well:

TgForce Impact Running Sensor Andoid API

The TgForceSensor repository contains Android code to interface with the TgForce Impact Running Sensor. The TgForce sensor is a Bluetooth LE device that measures tibial shock. It follows the
Bluetooth LE standards and is relatively easy to interface with.

This repository contains Android code to interface with the device. The protocol is encoded in the source code and is documented in the readme.

  • TgForce Sensor

    TgForce Sensor


~ Spontaneous Entrainment of Running Cadence to Music Tempo

Collega Edith van Dyck stuurde vorige week een persbericht rond over het onderzoek dat ze deed rond muziek en sporten. UGent persbericht ‘Muziek beïnvloedt pasfrequentie bij lopers’:

Aangezien heel wat joggers met muziek trainen, wilden onderzoekers van het IPEM (het onderzoekscentrum van de afdeling Musicologie, Vakgroep Kunst-, Muziek-, en Theaterwetenschappen aan de UGent) nagaan of het tempo van muziek de pasfrequentie tijdens het lopen kan beïnvloeden. Eerdere studies hadden al aangetoond dat muziek een motiverend effect kan hebben op sportprestaties en dat een hogere pasfrequentie blessurepreventief kan werken.

Een neerslag van het onderzoek is te lezen in het artikel Spontaneous Entrainment of Running Cadence to Music Tempo. Het persbericht werd goed opgepikt door de media en ook de lokale televisiezender AVS vertoonde interesse. Een cameraploeg kwam langs en dit resulteerde in volgend verslag. In het verslag spelen mijn vriendin en ikzelf een figurantenrol. De hoofdrol is weggelegd voor Dieter.


~ Access Mi Band from Android - Notes on the Bluetooth LE Protocol

Vibrate flowchartThe Mi Band is a bracelet with some sensors, three RGB leds and a vibration motor. It is marketed as an activity tracker and notifier. It is a neat little device that communicates via Bluetooth LE and has a battery life of around 30 days. It would be nice if it could be used for whatever purpose you want but alas, its API is not very open. This blog post gives pointers to useful resources and tips to make it work with your own code.

There have been some efforts to reverse engineer the Bluetooth protocol. This blog post contains some info. There are even complete implementations available of the protocol, there is a Mi Band protocol implementation in python and a Mi Band protocol implementation in Java. It is however not always clear which firmware version is targeted.

I would advise against installing the official Mi Band app, if you want to use it with custom code. The app upgrades the firmware to the latest version and it seems that Xiaomi is obfuscating the protocol more and more with each version. I was able to send vibrate and led commands to a Mi Band with firmware version 10.0.9.3. With the previously mentioned sources and the flow described to the right the device reacts to commands. I used an Android device. The flow:

  1. Pair with the Mi Band in the Android Bluetooth setting.
  2. In your code, connect to the paired device. Save the device address, you will need it later.
  3. Send a pair command to the device. This is part of the Mi Band protocol and has nothing to do with the previous Bluetooth pairing. If all goes well it reacts with a 2. See here
  4. Send user info. This step is crucial and not trivial. The user info needs to be encoded in a certain way and is CRC’d with the device address. The following is an example implementation of the Mi Band user info encoding
  5. Now you can send vibrate or other commands.

Some notes: the self-test command works without the set user step. For Android the Mi Band protocol implementation in Java works well. To check the firmware version of the device, call the get device info characteristic. The last bytes, interpreted as an integer, define the version info. For my device it is 10.9.3.2:

Write to characteristic 0000ff05-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb
onCharacteristicWrite status: 0 characteristic 0000ff05-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb
Read firmware version
11 value: 2
12 value: 3
13 value: 9
14 value: 0
15 value: 1

Another note: the set user info needs to be called with a 1 as type the first time the band is used. This is done with new UserInfo(20111111, 1, 32, 180, 55, "NM", 1) with the Android sdk by GitHub user pangliang. This sets and overwrites the user info. The next times you do not want to overwrite the info and the type needs to be zero.


~ Synchronizing Multimodal Recordings Using Audio-To-Audio Alignment - In Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces

The article titled “Synchronizing Multimodal Recordings Using Audio-To-Audio Alignment” by Joren Six and Marc Leman has been accepted for publication in the Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces. The article will be published later this year. It describes and tests a method to synchronize data-streams. Below you can find the abstract, pointers to the software under discussion and an author version of the article itself.

Synchronizing Multimodal Recordings Using Audio-To-Audio Alignment
An Application of Acoustic Fingerprinting to Facilitate Music Interaction Research

Abstract: Research on the interaction between movement and music often involves analysis of multi-track audio, video streams and sensor data. To facilitate such research a framework is presented here that allows synchronization of multimodal data. A low cost approach is proposed to synchronize streams by embedding ambient audio into each data-stream. This effectively reduces the synchronization problem to audio-to-audio alignment. As a part of the framework a robust, computationally efficient audio-to-audio alignment algorithm is presented for reliable synchronization of embedded audio streams of varying quality. The algorithm uses audio fingerprinting techniques to measure offsets. It also identifies drift and dropped samples, which makes it possible to find a synchronization solution under such circumstances as well. The framework is evaluated with synthetic signals and a case study, showing millisecond accurate synchronization.

To read the article, consult the author version of Synchronizing Multimodal Recordings Using Audio-To-Audio Alignment. The data-set used in the case study is available here. It contains a recording of balanceboard data, accelerometers, and two webcams that needs to be synchronized. The final publication is available at Springer via 10.1007/s12193-015-0196-1

The algorithm under discussion is included in Panako an audio fingerprinting system but is also available for download here. The SyncSink application has been packaged separately for ease of use.

To use the application start it with double click the downloaded SyncSink JAR-file. Subsequently add various audio or video files using drag and drop. If the same audio is found in the various media files a time-box plot appears, as in the screenshot below. To add corresponding data-files click one of the boxes on the timeline and choose a data file that is synchronized with the audio. The data-file should be a CSV-file. The separator should be ‘,’ and the first column should contain a time-stamp in fractional seconds. After pressing Sync a new CSV-file is created with the first column containing correctly shifted time stamps. If this is done for multiple files, a synchronized sensor-stream is created. Also, ffmpeg commands to synchronize the media files themselves are printed to the command line.

This work was supported by funding by a Methusalem grant from the Flemish Government, Belgium. Special thanks goes to Ivan Schepers for building the balance boards used in the case study. If you want to cite the article, use the following BiBTeX:

@article{six2015multimodal,
  author      = {Joren Six and Marc Leman},
  title       = {{Synchronizing Multimodal Recordings Using Audio-To-Audio Alignment}},
  issn        = {1783-7677},
  volume      = {9},
  number      = {3},
  pages       = {223-229},
  doi         = {10.1007/s12193-015-0196-1},
  journal     = {{Journal of Multimodal User Interfaces}}, 
  publisher   = {Springer Berlin Heidelberg},
  year        = 2015
}
  • Two streams of audio with fingerprints marked. Some fingerprints are present in both streams (green, O) while others are not (red, x). Matching fingerprints have the same offset, indicated by the dotted lines.

    Two streams of audio with fingerprints marked. Some fingerprints are present in both streams (green, O) while others are not (red, x). Matching fingerprints have the same offset, indicated by the dotted lines.

  • Multimodal recording system diagram. Each webcam has a microphone and is connected to the pc via USB. The dashed arrows represent analog signals. The balance board has four analog sensors but these are simplified to one connection in the schematic. The analog output of the microphones is also recorded through the DAQ. An analog accelerometer is connected with a microcontroller which also records audio.

    Multimodal recording system diagram. Each webcam has a microphone and is connected to the pc via USB. The dashed arrows represent analog signals. The balance board has four analog sensors but these are simplified to one connection in the schematic. The analog output of the microphones is also recorded through the DAQ. An analog accelerometer is connected with a microcontroller which also records audio.

  • SyncSink Synchronize media files. A user-friendly interface to synchronize media and data files.  First a reference media-file is added using drag-and-drop. The audio steam of the reference is extracted and plotted on a timeline as the topmost box. Subsequently other media-files are added. The offsets with respect to the reference are calculated and plotted. CSV-files with timestamps and data recorded in sync with a stream can be attached to a respective audio stream. Finally, after pressing Sync!, the data and media files are modified to be exactly in sync with the reference.

    SyncSink Synchronize media files. A user-friendly interface to synchronize media and data files. First a reference media-file is added using drag-and-drop. The audio steam of the reference is extracted and plotted on a timeline as the topmost box. Subsequently other media-files are added. The offsets with respect to the reference are calculated and plotted. CSV-files with timestamps and data recorded in sync with a stream can be attached to a respective audio stream. Finally, after pressing Sync!, the data and media files are modified to be exactly in sync with the reference.

  • A microcontroller fitted with an electret microphone and a microSD card slot. It can record audio in real-time together with sensor data.

    A microcontroller fitted with an electret microphone and a microSD card slot. It can record audio in real-time together with sensor data.

  • Conceptual drawing used as a basis for the SyncSync application. A reference stream (blue) can be synchronized with streams one and two. It allows a workflow where streams are started and stopped (red) or start before the reference stream (green).

    Conceptual drawing used as a basis for the SyncSync application. A reference stream (blue) can be synchronized with streams one and two. It allows a workflow where streams are started and stopped (red) or start before the reference stream (green).

  • The synchronized data from the two webcams, accelerometer and balanceboard in ELAN. From top to bottom the synchronized streams are two video-streams, balance-board data (red), accelerometer-data (green) and audio (black).

    The synchronized data from the two webcams, accelerometer and balanceboard in ELAN. From top to bottom the synchronized streams are two video-streams, balance-board data (red), accelerometer-data (green) and audio (black).

  • Synchronized streams in Sonic Visualizer. Here you can see two channel audio synchronized with accelerometer data (top, green) and balanceboard data (bottom, purple).

    Synchronized streams in Sonic Visualizer. Here you can see two channel audio synchronized with accelerometer data (top, green) and balanceboard data (bottom, purple).


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