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RAPID-MIX Report Summary

Project ID: 644862
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - RAPID-MIX (Realtime Adaptive Prototyping for Industrial Design of Multimodal Interactive eXpressive technology)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2017-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

RAPID-MIX brings cutting edge knowledge from three leading European research labs specialising in embodied interaction (Goldsmiths, IRCAM and UPF) to a consortium of five creative industries SMEs (Reactable Systems, Roli, AudioGaming, Orbe and PLUX) to create the next generation of Multimodal Interactive eXpressive systems (MIX) for the fields of music, videogames, and wellbeing.
In order to bring these innovations out of the lab and into market scenarios, RAPID MIX addresses four main technological and design objectives:

1- Build the next generation of Multimodal Interactive eXpressive (MIX) interfaces for natural and seamless interaction in individual and collaborative scenarios.
The project integrates novel wearable hardware, advanced real-time machine learning, and online platforms for data storage and sharing, into a coherent and open set of APIs: the RAPIDMIX-API. These tools are demonstrated in creative domains through new and enhanced products and prototypes.
2- Accelerate the availability of next generation MIX interfaces according to the standards and needs of the creative industry
RAPID-MIX accelerates the transfer of research-based technology from lab to market by integrating innovative proof of concepts in real products, through fast product design cycles covering agile prototyping, API development and integration, and promoting a closer relationship between the 3 research labs and the 5 SMEs who directly exploit these novel/improved products.
3- Establish Design Specifications and Guidelines for the next generation of MIX interfaces.
A solid User-Centred Design (UCD) methodology is deployed considering industrial and end-user needs, production roadmap of SMEs partners, manufacturing requirements, and end-user evaluation in relevant scenarios
4- Improve the SMEs competitiveness within the consortium, and propose a sustainable model for further innovation beyond the project and for the larger industrial European community
RAPID-MIX provides a set of technologies, design guidelines, and infrastructures that are coherent with the SMEs business models, and that will be incorporated in (at least) five new and enhanced products. Beyond the consortium SMEs, the RAPIDMIX-API will be aligned with broader industrial and market needs and available for the creative community through open licenses.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The first months of RAPID-MIX were devoted to settle the basis for deploying User-Centred Design (UCD) actions during the lifelong of the project. This led to the definition of an innovative UCD framework comprised of a four (4) step process: Observation, Probes, Prototypes, Products. Through this framework we were able to gauge industrial and end-user needs during the subsequent months of the project through participatory design activities, focus groups, workshops, and hackathons. These UCD activities led to a set of Design Guidelines for prototyping and API development.

In parallel, the strategy for developing the RAPIDMIX-API started with the preparation of the candidate technologies identified within the consortium (M1-M8). Project partners have been distributed in special interest groups to define specifications for the first version of the RAPID-MIX API (M21).

Inputs from UCD actions and the API strategy led to a first set of early-prototypes (M8). A second set of prototypes was also delivered on M14, and a set of prototypes for API testing was developed during M15-M21. At the product design level, the integration strategy for MIX products started at M5. These guidelines were defined with all SME partners (M8), describing a first roadmap for each MIX product, including dependencies and timelines. As a result, the first version of five new/enhanced products were presented in M17:

- ROLI's RAPID-MIX Modules for JUCE, a C++ cross-platform software framework with emphasis on audio
- PLUX's Online Repository and BITalino (r)evolution UART to OSC bridge with WiFi transmission
- AudioGaming’s Blender, a sound design creative tool based on gesture usage and recognition to give new expression means to sound designers, and Musicalizer VR, a VR gaming experience.
- Reactable’s Party, a mobile app that aims at generating a collaborative musical experience by controlling the generated music using both gestural controls and activity levels of each performer, thus being both natural and enjoyable.
- Orbe’s MIX web platform for designing new augmented reality and situated media experiences.

A the data management plan was completed in M6 and updated in M18, in order to handle research and production datasets collected in the project. Complementary to these actions, a strategic plan for Intellectual Property Right (IPR) management was developed and delivered to partners (M12).

The work on evaluation of MIX technologies started in M12. A first round of assessment on prototypes with target users was performed and reported in M17. From M18 till M24 a set of evaluation actions were executed to gather user insights on the first version of MIX products to inform the next product design cycles.

Dissemination and exploitation actions were deployed all along the two first years of the project. These actions started with the creation of a visual identity for both RAPID-MIX products and the RAPIDMIX-API, and the launching of the project website ( and social media accounts. Regarding the demonstration of the project outcomes within the creative community, during its first two years RAPID-MIX has taken part in Music Hack Days (Barcelona and Vienna), Maker Faires (Lisbon and Rome) the Music Tech Fest 2015, the Sonar Innovation Challenge (Barcelona), the Audio Developer Conference (London) among others.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The developments achieved within the first two years of RAPID-MIX, and their wide visibility in creative communities, allow us to foresee a large impact within and beyond the creative industry in the years to come.

The RAPIDMIX-API is already enabling better uses of ICT technologies by partner SMEs. During the second year of the project we have seen how different components of the API (interactive machine learning, online repositories, collaborative online communities, hardware platforms, audio synthesis and music information retrieval tools) have led to innovative prototypes and early commercial products. As we continue the development of the RAPIDMIX-API, we foresee a significant positive impact in the way European creative communities and SMEs deploy their products and prototyping processes.

The RAPID-MIX UCD guidelines -which are already publicly available through the project website - have been conceived to strengthen the leadership of European creative industries in the development of innovative products. Moreover, RAPID-MIX is already promoting the spillover of the knowledge acquired to other European industries beyond the creative domain. In this regard, PLUX’s BITalino and OpenSignals are currently being used in the research and e-health domains.

These achievements lead us to foresee an important impact of project’s outcomes in the short term, particularly for industrial users (programmers, developers and designers). These target communities are already leveraging on RAPID-MIX high-end, low cost hardware and software tools, easy to interface with each other. The affordances of such solutions have been already demonstrated in prototypes but also in products that will shortly hit the market.

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