Holland Bloorview's Virtual Musical Instrument® makes its concert debut

November 22, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
On November 22, 2011, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital's Virtual Musical Instrument® (VMI) makes its concert debut with the Montreal Chamber Orchestra as part of the 10th anniversary celebration and fundraiser for the Fondation du Centre de réadaptation Lucie-Bruneau, which supports the adult rehabilitation centre in Montreal, QC.

Developed in 2003 by renowned biomedical engineer, Dr. Tom Chau and his team, the VMI uses computer-based technology to allow people of all ages with limited mobility or impaired motor skills to make music using body movements or signals.

For people who are not able to hold or manipulate traditional musical instruments because of disability, the VMI opens up the opportunity to create sounds from a wide variety of instruments and to benefit from the therapeutic effects of making music.

"Research shows that the VMI can lead to improved self-esteem, auditory awareness, and cognitive skills, which can help to improve a person's ability and interest in participating in new experiences," says Dr. Chau.

The VMI was adapted for concert performance by Dr. Chau's team, together with Dr. David Alter, research scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Adrian Anantawan, violinist and former Holland Bloorview client.

The VMI will be played in concert by Eric Wan, a graduate student in engineering working in Dr. Chau's lab at the Bloorview Research Institute. Wan, who became a quadriplegic at age 18, has always had a love of music and technology, and understands the power of music for everyone. Working on the software development of the VMI as an undergraduate computer engineering student has not only allowed Wan to develop his engineering skills, but also enable him to play a musical instrument once again.

Ahead of the concert performance at Montreal's Place des Arts, the VMI will be featured as part of An Evening of Possibility, held at Holland Bloorview on November 21. The evening, which raises funds for Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, promises to be the culinary event of 2011. It is an intimate gathering of 250 of Toronto's top business and community leaders, featuring a sumptuous five course dinner prepared by six of Canada's finest chefs to raise awareness about the needs of children with disabilities.

About Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is Canada's largest children's rehabilitation hospital, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. We pioneer treatments, technologies, therapies and real-world programs that give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life. Every year, we see about 7,000 children with about 600 inpatient admissions and 58,000 outpatient visits.