Accessible Music-Instrument with AsTeRICS

playing a keyboard in a band - without moving your hands

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"Freaky Tricky" and "Chordion" are accessible music interfaces developed by Georg Schmelzer Ziringer in cooperation with Harry Hötzinger, Cornelia Salomon (student of bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering) and the AsTeRICS Academy team. Both music interfaces build upon the Open Source Software Pure Data - which must be downloaded and installed before they can be used. "Freaky Tricky" and "Chordion" can be combined with special input solutions - in our case AsTeRICS models either with the webcam  ('FaceTracker-Mouse') or eyetrackers like Tobii EyeX/Tobii 4C or EyeTribe.

With the "Chordion" synthesizer, the user can play harmonic chords and send them to the internal sound card or a synthesizer via Midi format. The Open Source synthesizer "ZynAddSubFX" is recommended as a good alternative to the (limited) standard Midi instruments of the computer's sound card. To route the Midi signals from "Chordion" into "ZynAddSubFx", a midi routing tool is needed, we recommend the free version of LoopBe virtual midi driver. 

Since 2016 this work is supported by the City of Vienna (MA-23) within the Call18 project ToRaDes, grant nr. 18-04.

Zip Archive - 45.23 MB - 08/22/2017 at 08:30


  • Changing the input for this music instrument

    benjaminaigner08/22/2017 at 09:49 0 comments

    Due to nature of AsTeRICS model development, it is really easy to replace the input device of this music instrument.

    This project currently includes 2 models with different input possibilities:

    • eyex_lipmouse_combined.acs:

    This model was used by harry in the video. It uses the Tobii EyeX for mouse cursor positioning (that's really fast) and a FLipMouse for triggering the mouse clicks.

    • musicSynthFacetracker.acs:

    If you don't have an EyeX at home, you can use this model for playing sounds. It uses the internal webcam as head tracker, where you can move the mouse cursor with your head. The left-click is triggered with the spacebar. We use this normal keyboard input in combination with the FABI module, which triggers the spacebar with an external assistive button.

    In some situations, one might not be satisfied with these possibilities. If this is the case, fire up the ACS, load the model and modify it as you wish :-).

    You can use (only examples): openBCI (EMG/EEG input), Nintendo Wii controller, Kinect and even your smart home switch!

  • FreakyTricky&Chordion in action

    benjaminaigner08/22/2017 at 08:56 0 comments

    To experience the music interface in action, here is a video from the band "AsTeRICS and the toilers of tune" where Harry Hötzinger ist playing the accessible music interface. Other band members are Petra Feuerstein (voc), Georg Schmelzer-Ziringer (bass), Andi Sagmeister (banjo) and Leo Geist (drums):

View all 2 project logs

  • 1
    Download & Install AsTeRICS

    AsTeRICS is a software framework to build assistive software solutions with a graphical editor. You might use it for different purposes, for example webcam based mouse control, smart home interfacing, biosignal processing and many many more (over 140 plugins are available).

    Just have a look into the examples (start the ARE - AsTeRICS Runtime Environment).

    You can download the full distribution here:

    The download already contains the JavaVM, which is necessary to run AsTeRICS.

    After the installation (which should be straight forward, otherwise please open up an issue :-)), you have 2 new programs available:

    • ACS - AsTeRICS Configuration Suite: this program is used to connect to an ARE instance, load a model, modify & run it. Unfortunately, the ACS is Windows only by now, we are working on a web-based solution
    • ARE - AsTeRICS Runtime Environment: this program contains the actual program logic with all plugins. A model will run automatically on start-up providing different examples

    If you want, have a look into the /ACS/models folder, which contains many different examples (some of them need additional hardware, many of them do not).

  • 2
    PureData/MIDI software - install & run

    Download the full Chordion&FreakyTricky archive from this project's files.

    The installation procedure is described in ReadMe.txt. Just in case, these steps are necessary:

    • Install PD from this archive (do not download a newer version, unfortunately it does not work with our files)
    • Install the LoopBe1 driver (download here:
    • Open one of the PD files from this package (either Chordion.pd or Freaky_Tricky.pd)
    • Setup the MIDI device in PD: Media->MIDI Setup->Output device 1: LoopBe Internal MIDI
    • Close PD again
    • Execute the music setup via "Music_start.bat" (this batch file opens both PD files)
    • Run the AsTeRICS Model (either musicSyncthFacetracker if you want to use a Webcam or eyex_lipmouse_combined if you want to use a FLipMouse and a Tobii EyeX)
    • Play your instrument :-)

View all instructions

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