It all started in Houston, Texas, at the TXRX lab. Every Sunday, Dan Mailman was in the lab not only for the free breakfast, but also to provide tours of the facilities to interested parties. It was there that he met local choreographer, Alisa Mitten, who sought a musically responsive stage space for her dance routines. That is when the idea behind Music Genies began.


The idea was to use image processing that would find her on stage so that the music could interact with her movements. Mailman, owner of StudioMindStride, accepted the challenge and developed the Response Composition (RECO) client/server technology. The RECO servers were programmed to track objects with cameras, and were then strategically placed around the stage space that Mitten requested. The servers then synced all of the servers and integrated the data into a model of stage activity. With this, Mitten was able to play pre-programmed music in response to what was happening on stage.


Mailman has since made the move to Chattanooga, where he met Kate Warren of Art 120. In collaboration with Art 120, Mailman created a very simple RECO installation for River City Company’s Passageways Project, which launched in August 2016. Mailman created Stage Genies for the project. Through a connected and programmed network of cameras, speakers and computers, Stage Genies is a soundscape installation that tracks the movement of alleyway-goers and responds with music. Visitors can walk through the alley, located at 715 Market Street, and trigger the start of beloved music from the 50s and 60s.


This year will be Mailman’s first year participating in the Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire. He will be presenting Music Genies to the attendees of the Faire, with what he describes as “an air guitar that actually plays music”. Music Genies uses a single camera and a Raspberry PI to gather the three-dimensions of a specific space and maps them together with the three-dimensions of specific sound, in order to form music from body motion. Mailman plans to feature not only an “air guitar”, but also an “air piano”. He is looking forward to putting his art to work.


With Music Genies, Mailman hopes to encourage people of all ages to challenge their minds and learn more about Computer Science. Music Genies is part of the “Maker Genies project-based curriculum for teaching advanced topics in Computer Science using Python and C/C++ on the Raspberry PI in a fun, interesting way”.



To learn more about Dan Mailman’s Music Genies project and his additional projects, click here.

Be a part of this year’s Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire on September 9th. Apply to be a Maker today!

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