fMRI-Compatible Cello

Participants: Avrum Hollinger
Marcelo M. Wanderley (supervisor)
Christopher Steele
Virginia Penhune (Concordia University)
Robert Zatorre (Montreal Neurological Institute)
Optical sensing of cello finger
Funding: Concordia University (Penhune)
Canadian Foundation for Innovation (Zatorre & Wanderley)
NSERC Discovery Grant (Wanderley)
CIRMMT student funds (Hollinger) 2007-2008
Project Type: Collaborative project (CIRMMT, BRAMS - Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound).
Time Period: 2006– (Ongoing.)

Project Description

This project focuses on the development of an MR-compatible cello interface that can be used inside MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanners. The optically-sensed electro-acoustic cello allows neuroscientists studying motor learning of musical tasks to perform functional scans of a subject's brain while synchronizing the scanner, auditory and visual stimuli, and auditory feedback with the cellists instrumental gestures, such as fingering, bow speed, and bow pressure.

MR-compatible cello


  • A. Hollinger and M. M. Wanderley. “Optoelectronic Acquisition and Control Board for Musical Applications.” In Proc. of the 2012 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME12), Ann Harbour, 2012.
  • A. Hollinger and M. M. Wanderley. “MRI-Compatible Optically-Sensed Cello.” In Proc. of IEEE SENSORS 2013 Conference, 2013. Awarded “Best Student Paper, Overall.”