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Warner Bros. commissions visual remix app from QM

Monday 2 December 2013

QM’s innovative app development venture QApps has produced a special version of Tunetrace, an app that transforms photos into music, for entertainment giant Warner Bros. Scandinavian electropop band NONONO, who are signed to Warner Bros. Records, are the first band to use a version of the app that lets fans remix and share the group’s latest single ‘Pumpin Blood’ in endless new forms.

Tunetrace creates a skeleton of the drawing or photograph by using two computer vision stages. First the app identifies the main elements of the image, in particular where lines end and meet each other. The next stage eliminates the remainder of the image until a network of lines, all exactly one pixel wide, are left behind.

It then populates this map with a series of twinkling lights, which obey a few very simple rules to navigate their way across the image, making music as they go.

Rather than creating new music from an image like the original Tunetrace, this fresh version allows the user to reinvent new mixes of an existing song by using the track as the basis for the sounds it plays.

Watch the band demonstrate Tunetrace in this video.

“We’re delighted to be working with Warner Bros. and the band to develop an exciting new vision for Tunetrace,” said Professor Peter McOwan, Vice-Principal for Public Engagement and Student Enterprise and co-founder of QApps.

“It’s addictive fun to create, share and experiment with, but also continues to emphasise the playful aspect of computer coding."

Tunetrace has been developed by QApps, QM’s ground-breaking app development venture, which aims to turn cutting-edge research and expertise into useful and exciting smartphone technology. The latest version has added functionality such as users being able to share their creations with each other and new sounds in the form of a midi keyboard.

The NONONO / Tunetrace app was released by Warner Bros. Records on Tuesday 20 November, and is available as a free download for the iPad and the iPhone from http://smarturl.it/nononoapp.

QApps is QM’s smartphone app store, distributing a range of innovative and exciting apps developed by staff and students. It is as a collaborative venture, led by Professor Peter McOwan, Vice-Principal for Public Engagement and Student Enterprise, and supported by Queen Mary Innovation, QM’s knowledge transfer company, and forms part of our public engagement activities.

Tunetrace is based on EPSRC-funded research as part of Computer Science for Fun and research into computer vision and robotics. Initial development was supported by ImpactQM, a three-year research project funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Queen Mary Innovation.

See the demo video and download the app here: http://www.qappsonline.com/apps/tunetrace/.      

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