Sound and Music Computing Lab

Located in Como, the Sound and Music Computing Lab was founded in 2006 by the Image and Sound Processing Group (ISPG) of the Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, with the help and support of the Polo Regionale di Como. The laboratory collects expertise from the ISPG Lab in the areas of audio and acoustics and focuses on various research projects in these areas. The laboratory also supports some of the didactic activities of the curriculum on “Sound Engineering and Design”, of the Computer Science and Engineering Degree program. The SMC laboratory includes the following facilities:

Experimental recording studio – 120 sqm of acoustically-controlled environment that accommodates traditional musical instruments (including a grand piano and a drum set), electronic and virtual musical instruments. The control room is equipped with a digital multichannel recording system that includes a 48-channel digital mixer (Yamaha 02R96), a storage system (Alesis HA24, 24 channels at 96 KHz and 24 bit), and a high-performance mainframe that accommodates high-end sound acquisition cards (32 full-duplex channels at 192 KHz, 24 bit). The studio also includes various multi-effects, MIDI patch bays, and MIDI controllers.

Rendering room – a quiet and “dry” room (almost anechoic), used for experiments of acoustic and audio-visual rendering. The room is completely lined with heavily absorbing material and its acoustics can be freely modified by properly positioning diffusive panels. The almost anechoic behavior of the room enables experiments of holophonic rendering based on loudspeaker arrays. Open space lab multi-purpose lab equipped with numerous PC workstations, MIDI keyboards and multichannel soundcards. This lab focuses on a wide range of applications that require PC-intensive work. It currently focuses on space-time processing techniques based on arrays of microphones (such as source localization, tracking and separation), arrays of speakers (acoustic beamforming, geometric wavefield synthesis, etc.), sound synthesis and sound/voice analysis.

HCI Lab – The Human-Computer Interaction Lab was set up in collaboration with Como’s Conservatory of Music, for research and didactic experiments of HCI in musical applications. In this lab it is possible to develop novel HCI mechanisms and conduct experiments with them, using specialized sensors and motion tracking systems for multimodal applications. In addition to the workstations with multichannel sound cards, microphones and MIDI keyboard, the laboratory is equipped with a Theremin Etherwave, two firewire cameras, a projector, a multitouch surface control Lemur/Jazzmutant, two Wacom graphic tablets, control devices used for gaming applications such as joystick, gamepad and Wii. The laboratory also enables the handling of other types of sensors (Arduino, Wiring, Eobody, I-CubeX) for the development of novel HW and SW prototypes.

Musical Acoustics Lab

The Musical Acoustics Lab is located in Cremona, in the “Palazzo dell’arte” (“Palace of the arts”), where the prestigious Violin Museum is. Founded in 2013, the Lab builds upon the expertise of the Image and Sound Processing Group (ISPG) of the Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria (DEIB) of the Politecnico di Milano, with the collaboration of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The Lab was established with the financial contribution of the Arvedi Buschini Foundation and the CARIPLO Foundation (Progetto Distretto Culturale di Cremona). The Lab closely collaborates with the Arvedi Laboratory of Non-Invasive Diagnostic Analysis of the University of Pavia, and shares some lab space with it. The Lab capitalizes on the experience of ISPG in the areas of audio/sound processing, computational acoustics and machine intelligence, as well as the experience of the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering on vibro-acoustics analysis. The Musical Acoustics Lab is focused on improving the quality of acoustic musical instruments (particularly stringed instruments of contemporary and classical luthiery) as well as listening environments.


Rendering room – 8m x 5m phono-insulated, vibro-insulated semi-anechoic room for timbral and acoustic measurements and acquisitions, as well as experiments of spatial audio rendering. The room rests suspended on vibro-absorbent material and is completely covered with phono-absorbent material over a wide range of frequencies. The inner acoustics can be altered using reconfigurable acoustic reflectors, enabling experiment of room acoustic analysis and reconstruction, and recording sessions in different acoustic conditions. The semi-anechoic behavior enables experiments of olophonic and plenacoustic rendering based on speaker arrays as well as experiments of spatial acquisition/capture of acoustic fields. The rendering room is equipped with a fourth-order ambisonics rendering dome of 32 high-resolution Genelec speakers for immersive musical listening experiences.

Vibro-Acoustic Analysis Lab – equipped with all the instrumentation that is necessary to acquire high-resolution 3D models of musical instruments; to measure, model and analyze its vibrational behavior; to measure/estimate its radiative behavior. As far as 3D modeling is concerned, the Lab is equipped with a laser scanner for large objects, thickness gauges, advanced software for surface modeling (patchwork as well as levelset methods). As fare a vibrational analysis is concerned, the lab has a range of calibrated measurement accelerometers, calibrated hammers, etc. and a laser interferometry laser for non-invasive measurements on historical instruments. The Lab also has a high-resolution capturing system of 64 measurement microphones for holophonic acquisition of acoustic fields in close proximity (non-invasive reconstruction of vibro-acoustic behavior of soundboards and radiative surfaces).

Control room – equipped with a mobile professional-grade high-resolution spatial audio capturing system for live events. In addition to the mixing system and the professional microphone equipment, the lab also has an Eigenmike, an integrated full-sphere acoustic camera with 32 microphonic capsules that can be used for implementing and controlling virtual microphones, e for spatial audio acquisitions of live events.

Open-space – area equipped with several workstations for software development and data management.

Image and Sound Processing Laboratory (ISPLab)

The ISPLab (Image and Sound Processing Lab) has developed a strong expertise in multi-view analysis for 3D reconstruction (objects, faces, environments) and behavioural analysis (gesture classification and recognition): in particular, a large room, named "smart-space" is devoted to human action classification. A set of cameras is present at its walls, in a controlled environment, allowing real-time 3D reconstruction of a body model; gesture classification is performed through advanced pattern recognition techniques on these models, providing profitable tools to analyse real contexts like crowded places, remote assistance to old people and disabled persons or suspicious behaviours in sensible areas. 3D reconstruction techniques are also studied for face modelling and for developing recognition engines robust to different poses and illuminations. Further research topic in biometric field is iris segmentation and recognition from single image. Other topics studied at the ISPLab are: video coding (Scalable Video Coding, Distributed Source Coding); pattern recognition for video-surveillance (2D and 3D face recognition, object localization, tracking and classification for security applications); sound analysis (localization, separation, tracking and classification of sound sources); sound production (musical sound synthesis/processing) and processing (sound propagation modelling, real-time environmental acoustic rendering); in-solid vibrational analysis (touch localization/tracking for computer-human interaction).