Keith McMillen Instruments (KMI), a Berkeley-based hardware and software developer for instruments pertaining to music videos, computer, gaming and ergonomic technology industries, has developed a Bluetooth Sensor Bow, titled the K-Bow, which will be used in the premier show of Polar Suite, the first of its kid string quartet performed with and composed for the K-Bow. Douglas Quin's Polar Suite, 2011 will be performed by Kronos at the Syracuse University’s Setnor Auditorium on November 9, 2011.
Composed by DouglasQuin, Polar Suite integrates the sounds created by traditional instruments and is then processed with the K-Bow’s movements. The San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet will bring together cello, viola, violin, interactive electronics and digitally processed samples, which will be controlled by the K-Bow.
The handcrafted K-Bow is made of graphite and Kevlar, a synthetic fiber. It can integrate CPUs and sensors while it feels like the traditional bow. The K-Bow features a 3D accelerometer capable of measuring the bow’s angle and the playing force, a hair tension sensor to detect the pressure the bow applies on the strings, a grip pressure sensor along with sensors to measure distance from the fingerboard, the distance from the bow frog and the angle or tilt of the bow.
Douglas Quin, the composer of Polar Suite stated that with the K-Bow, the possibilities for the composer are limitless. The cellist of the Kronos Quartet, Jeffrey Zeigler stated that with the bow, the musician can manipulate and control the sound without disrupting the act of playing the instrument.