What if, with a flick of your wrist and a flutter of your fingers, you could create fantastical sounds out of thin air? This amazing innovation makes it possible — and allows performers to create an entirely new experience with their audience! Read on to learn how Mi.Mu Gloves are resonating with musical tinkerers and futuristic listeners alike.

In this digital age, most of us are capable of communicating, watching, and recording without being tethered to our tech by cumbersome cords. But what if we took our wireless technology and applied it to new creative experiences? There’s a brilliant artist out there who has done just that! Turn the volume up to eleven as we introduce you to Imogen Heap and the magical sounds of her Mi.Mu Gloves!

Image: Portrait of Imogen Heap modeling the Mi.Mu gloves

Courtesy of Fiona Garden

Breaking through musical barriers

Imogen Heap is a classically trained British singer/songwriter, record producer, and performance artist that holds two Grammys under her belt. Her songs have graced radio stations, movie soundtracks, and even the TED stage. However, Imogen is best known for her innovative music style that combines digital sounds with her hauntingly beautiful vocals. 1

Over the past decade, Imogen Heap and her team of musicians and software developers have designed a ground-breaking accessory that is changing live performances for future generations to enjoy! By shedding the wires that bind artists to their devices, the Mi.Mu gloves make it possible for performers to control the sounds they’re creating with just their hands! And therefore, they give them the ability to connect with people on a very human level. Artists can engage with their audiences by getting out from behind keyboards and controllers, and provide them a much more dynamic visual performance. 2

Here’s a peek into the origin story of the Mi.Mu gloves, and how they enable artists to perform in an entirely new orbit of creative expression!

Via: MI·MU [ref]MI·MU. “MI.MU: The Story.” YouTube. MI-MU, 25 Apr. 2019. Web. 17 Sept. 2019. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-UlQV3bkCA&feature=youtu.be>.[/ref]

Incredible innovation right there! If you’d like to see more work from Mi.Mu check out their entire YouTube library!

Celebrating the endless possibilities at your fingertips (literally!)

From an engineering standpoint, these gloves are truly impressive. They not only give users the ability to shape sounds with their hands, but the Glover software can be programmed to make audio visions become reality!

The Mi.Mu gloves also provide a wondrous opportunity for those living with disabilities to discover new ways to express themselves without the use of traditional instruments, which can be heavy, awkward, and expensive. The gloves can be applied to hundreds of musical genres and enjoyed by creative types of all ages and backgrounds.

This next video by Electronic Products Magazine really highlights how Imogen is molding the music with her movements. We hope you enjoy this live demo where Imogen performs her song “Me, the Machine”!

Via: Electronic Products Magazine [ref]Electronic Products Magazine. “Mi Mu, Imogen Heap’s Gesture-controlled Digital Music Gloves.” YouTube. Electronic Products Magazine, 14 Apr. 2014. Web. 17 Sept. 2019. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4V8uklXCjg&feature=youtu.be>.[/ref]

The Future of Mi.Mu

The skill it takes to coordinate your voice with these movements is a mesmerizing feat on its own. But, the thing that leaves me breathless about the Mi.Mu gloves is how they will change the way we experience music going into the future. The gloves give solo artists the ability to perform alone, and have access to an infinite playground of sounds! 

Imogen’s team has continued to upgrade the design since that second video. For instance, they have made the gloves completely wireless. This allows for a more compact device for traveling, easier movement, and of course, more extensive wardrobe options! You can order a pair for yourself through the Mi.Mu website. They have even created a sewable, codable mini version of the gloves for children called the Mini.Mu!

Several artists have experimented with the gloves, and one particularly famous American pop-star uses them in her live tours. Check out this short video of Ariana Grande trying out the Mi.Mu gloves and using them in her chart-topping song “Why Try”. (Thank you to hellowoodson for the lovely compilation video!)

For a little more insight on how music has evolved over time, check out this article we published a while back!

5 minutes

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We now have access to any song we'd like right in the palm of our hand...but how did we get here?

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So, why should we care?

Music is something that connects us all. Whether it comforts you during hard times, reminds you of the best of days, or celebrates your unique heritage, we’ve surely all felt how music is THE universal language.

If something that is such a huge part of the human experience (like music) can be improved by thinking outside of the box, what could be the next branch of connection? The possibilities are endless if we dare to keep looking for them.

Keep dreaming and notice the beauty around you!

~Renee

Looking to explore more amazing innovations?

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Notes:

  1. Morgan, Hannah. “Mi-Mu Gloves” MI·MU. Another Kind, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2019. <https://mimugloves.com/>.
  2. Morgan, Hannah. “Pre-order.” MI·MU. Another Kind, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2019. <https://mimugloves.com/>.
  3. Hellowoodson. “Ariana Grande – Mimu Gloves Compilation.” YouTube. Hellowoodson, 30 May 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2019. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3WsqC21cZQ&feature=youtu.be>. 

Renee Laroche-Rheaume

Outreach Coordinator

Renee is a graduate of FIDM, and has held jobs in several industries such as apparel manufacturing, retail, professional office work, and even hospitality! Her creative outlook, wide variety of experiences, and desire to notice the beauty around us make her a great addition to the EWC team!