My PhD thesis is now available to read on the UCC CORA website:
Human-Computer Interaction Methodologies Applied in the Evaluation of Haptic Digital Musical Instruments.
Developments in Music Technology have seen major changes in the manner in which artists, performers, and creatives interact with digital technology; this is arguably due to the increasing variety of digital technologies that are readily available today. Digital Musical Instruments (DMIs) present musicians with performance challenges that are unique to Computer Music. One of the most significant deviations from conventional acoustic musical instruments is the level of physical feedback conveyed by the instrument back to the user. Currently, new interfaces for musical expression are not designed to be as physically communicative as acoustic instruments. DMIs are often void of physical feedback and therefore lack the ability to impart important performance information to the user. Moreover, there is currently no standardised way to measure the effects of this deficit. In a design context, best practice would expect that there should be a set of methods to effectively, repeatedly, and quantifiably evaluate the various elements of functionality, usability, and user experience involved in a DMI interaction. Earlier applications of haptics have tried to address device performance issues associated with the lack of feedback in digital device designs and it is argued that the level of haptic feedback presented to a user can significantly affect the user’s overall emotive feeling towards a musical device. In my research I explored a number of techniques in which physicality could be reintroduced to digital interactions with musical devices. I conducted psychophysiological studies that measured the effects of vibration, designed an evaluation framework that could be applied to musical instruments, and presented functional and longitudinal studies that applied the framework in the evaluation of haptics applied in Computer Music.