Sonification of movements


In this project we try to improve the rehabilitation of gross-motor arm skills in stroke patients. Via small sensors the arm-movements can be sonified in real-time and fed back to the patient. By applying this technique we hope to establish a 3-dimensional sound map in the patients spatial and auditory memory. This should help to later substitute the often impaired proprioception.

In the recent available stroke rehabilitation therapies visuel informations dominate in learning and relearning of movements. However the efficacy of these therapies is rather limited. Recent neuroscienentific studies show that goal oriented movements are mostly learned via the combination and integration of different sensory modalities (vision, hearing, proprioception). Furthermore the emotional quality of the feedback seems to play a major role. By taking this into account the usage of musical stimuli for therapy should be quite efficient.



  • developement and technical realization of a music-based real-time sonification
  • developement and testing of a sonification-based rehabilitation music-therapy for stroke patients


For developing a intuitive and implicitly easy to learn mapping for the movement-sonification we run a pilot-study at the IMMM. Nineteen healthy adults in a stroke risk age ranging from 55 to 75 were tested with the SonicPainter. The SonicPainter is a custom made computer-program which sonifies computer-mouse movements in real-time. This paradigm was designed to test the optimal asignment of the dimensions pitch and brightness to a 2-dimensional mapping on the screen. The subjects should listen to a sound and then find the corresponding origin of this pariticular sound on the screen afterwards.

Clinical study

Earlier studies have shown that the mechanism of audio-motor coupling helps in faster fine-motor rehabilitation in stroke patients. Our clinical sonification project should now explore the effects of a musical sonification on the gross-motor movement rehabilitation. We want to test the effects of our newly developed and novel musical sonification therapy in a bigger clinical study on stroke patients. Several neuropsychological pre- and post-tests will be conducted to check for generalizability of the results to the daily movements of the patients.This clinical trial is supported by the Hertie-Foundation for Neurosciences.


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    Last modified: 2017-02-16

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