Is it possible to organize an online concert where individual musicians play together being hundreds of kilometers far from each other but having the feeling of being physically present in the same place? According to Luca Turchet, a researcher at the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science, in the future this will be possible thanks to the research work on the Internet of Musical Things (IoMusT).
The IoMusT includes a series of computer devices capable of detecting and exchanging data to produce music, with multiple applications: during rehearsals to allow musicians to play at a distance, thus reducing time, costs and pollution due to travel; in concerts to allow the public to go through new forms of musical experiences enhanced by the use of tactile or visual stimuli in virtual and augmented reality; in music education to provide students with new services that support their learning through intelligent and connected musical instruments.
The more critical aspects for communicating online music are the lack of synchronization and transmission delay, the so-called latency.
Thanks to a collaboration with the Elk company and with prof. Carlo Fischione of the Swedish KTH institute, Dr. Turchet contributed to develop an operating system that allows musicians to play at a distance at the same time while guaranteeing very low latency.
However the current fourth generation of cellular networks cannot guarantee the reliability and transmission speed that the IoMusT requires, especially when multiple musicians are connected together. Dr. Turchet is therefore studying ways to increase transmission speed using the next generation of 5G cellular systems to overcome the reliability limits of the current 4G.
The goal of the research is to design an IoMusT system based on 5G infrastructure by introducing useful building blocks for an effective network configuration. The first results of this research were published in September 2020 in the Proceedings of the 27th IEEE Conference on Open Innovation Association FRUCT, with co-authors Dr. Paolo Casari (University of Trento) and Dr. Marco Centenaro (Bruno Kessler Foundation). The project is funded by the European Space Agency and by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.