Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Musikwissenschaft

Social interaction through sound feedback – Sentire

funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


Research Team:

Collaboration partners:

Music therapist Ulrike Stollenwerk

Dr. Dr. Moritz Köster


The aim of the project “Social interaction through sound feedback – Sentire” is the systematic investigation of Sentire’s applicability in healthcare, which will go in parallel with a further development of the interactive sound environment and the underlying proximity and touch sensor system.


Sentire is a digital system that mediates bodily movements and musical sounds, using a Body-Machine-Interface that allows two (or more) people to interact with one another in a physical environment—rather than in a virtual environment. Distance and touch between the users can be measured and mapped to an algorithmic sound environment in real-time.  Through this multimodal experience, the awareness of the self and of the other is enhanced on both bodily and kinaesthetic level, i.e. movement perception. This was confirmed by the first interviews conducted with the users. The continuous and immediate sound feedback creates the conditions for an action-perception cycle. Most importantly, this cycle establishes itself between two people and fosters their social interaction. Embodiment-based research serves as a conceptual framework to understand the relationship between attention towards one’s own body and states of consciousness, whereas the notion of musical social entrainment (Kim et al., 2019) could be a valuable tool to interpret the features of social interaction mediated by Sentire.


The system was originally developed in the artistic context of participatory performances, but is developed further for therapeutic purposes, taking into account the increasing incidence of social isolation, chronic stress, and diminished body awareness up to psychosomatic and mental diseases. Real-world studies with schizophrenic, depressed as well as people without clinical diagnosis will be conducted to explore how the system can facilitate social interaction, trust-building and self-awareness, thus improving specific clinical pictures or supporting stress management and prevention in non-pathological contexts. The effectiveness of the system will be assessed with the methods of structured observation and micro-phenomenological interview technique. In the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research, incremental and iterative development of the Sentire Soft- and Hardware will be carried out.