You can now buy the software behind Imogen Heap's musical gloves

Daniel Cooper
·Senior Editor
·2-min read

Glover, the software that powers Imogen Heap’s Mi.Mu gloves, is now available to buy as a standalone product. Priced at $159, Glover interprets gestures made in three-dimensional space and can translate them to run a MIDI or OSC controller. The system will even integrate with a number of popular music-making platforms, including Ableton Live, Analog Lab V and Apple MainStage.

The software was originally designed to work with Heap’s gloves, which she envisaged as a way to get “more expressive control of the tech in the studio and on stage.” Since 2010, Heap has worked with researchers at the University of the West of England to refine and develop the program. It is now a popular tool, used by musicians including Ariana Grande, Chagall and Lula.XYZ.

Enabling users to map gestures enables them to play virtual instruments or run a loop station just by pinching their fingers. If you’re curious about how this works in action, watch this video of Heap building a live, looped version of Frou Frou’s Breathe In on stage. Users can also add, for instance, vibrato controls to your open, waving hand, allowing you to incorporate dance into live performances.

Until now, you would need to buy a pair of Mi.Mu gloves in order to get access to Glover, something out of the reach for many folks. A pair of Mi.Mus will set you back £2,500 ($3,430), but that’s not the only way you can get anything out of the software. The company has also launched Gliss, a smartphone app which will let you draw patterns on the display which can be translated into sound.

More importantly, Glover now works with other motion-sensing platforms including Leap Motion, letting you create a virtual theremin. And hobbyists handy with a sewing needle and microcontroller can make a bare-bones version of the gloves using the BBC’s micro:bit as part of a third-party kit. Even better, the company says that gesture control using a webcam or Genki’s Wave ring, is coming later this year.

Those looking to dip a toe into the water can try a free demo of Glover, available for both Windows and macOS. Gliss, meanwhile, is iOS-only for now, with an Android version coming later in the year.