LIVELab at the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind (MIMM)

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
What the facility does

Scientists, researchers and artists collaborate to explore fundamental and applied questions related to music, sound, human interaction and movement and their importance to human health and development.

Areas of expertise

The McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind (MIMM) brings together a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, musicians, community and industry partners to study the perception, performance and impact of music and other creative arts. Creative performance is a framework that helps researchers to understand broader scientific questions about child development, aging, learning, pedagogy, cognition, brain function, mental health, human interaction, communication and movement.

In 2014, MIMM opened the LIVELab (Large Interactive Virtual Environment), a unique 106-seat Performance-Research Space. The LIVELab contains technology to measure behavioural responses (100 tablet system), movement (motion capture), brain responses (EEG) and physiology (e.g., heart rate, galvanic skin responses, breathing, muscle tension) in multiple performers and audience members simultaneously. The space contains a Disklavier piano, which can record and playback the exact velocity and timing of all key presses during a performance, a video wall, and studio-quality sound recording equipment. The Meyer Constellation sound system, consisting of 28 microphones and 75 speakers, can instantaneously recreate the size and reverberation characteristics of almost any space, and present sounds that move around the room in 3D space. The high precision synchronization between equipment systems in the LIVELab enables cutting edge multi-faceted analysis of complex questions of human interaction related to music, hearing, vision, movement, and learning.

Research services

The LIVELab is available for use by researchers from around the world to advance basic and applied research into human interaction through collaborations among scientists, industry partners, health professionals, educators and performing artists. The fee structure is based on use of space and technical requirements.

In addition to neuroscientific research, the LIVELab encourages creative use of technology in unique music and multi-media performances through the LIVELab Concert Series. The facility has attracted international musicians who have created compositions specifically for the LIVELab and performed in the space.

MIMM members and the LIVELab are heavily engaged in community outreach programs, including tours and workshops for youth, undergraduate students and community members interested in the psychology and neurobiology of music performance.

This high-tech research facility with livestreaming capabilities is available to rent for corporate and community events.

Sectors of application
  • Arts and cultural industries
  • Education
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Information and communication technologies and media
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
g-Tec g.USBamp/g.HIamp EEG Biosignal AmplifierElectroencephalography (EEG). Simultaneous collection of 8 channels of physiological data from 32 audience and 72 channels from 4 on-stage performers.
Noraxon Wireless Direct Transmission System (DTS)Electromyography (EMG). Simultaneous collection of 8 channels of physiological data from 32 audience and 72 channels from 4 on-stage performers.
g-Tec g.GSRsensor2 Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) systemSimultaneous collection of GSR data from up to 32 participants.
Meyer Sound Constellation Active AcousticsEnables acoustic properties of room to be altered instantaneously to recreate any sound environment.
Qualisys Oqus 5+ and Oqus 7 motion capture camerasInfrared cameras capture motion of marked participants on stage and in audience to create a 3D model of real movement.
Yamaha Disklavier DC7 Mark IV PRO Concert Grand PianoPedagogical, performance and research tool that records timing and velocity of keystrokes and pedal presses in digital files.
SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab A SM-T380NZSEXAC Quad Core Processor 1.40 GHz 2 GB MemoryUsing custom software, presentation of questions to audience members can be customized to collect responses in real-time.
Samsung IE015R IER Series LED Video Wall6.9’x12’ LED display emits no noise and allows performers to approach the back wall without casting a shadow.
GRAS 45BB KEMAR ManikinBinaural hearing aid acoustic measurement tool that records sound the way a real human would hear.
Video Production SuiteLive streaming capability, multiple high quality remote pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras.


  • An Instrument for Every Child (AIFEC)
  • Canadian Acoustical Association
  • Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA)
  • Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research (Helsinki, Finland)
  • City of Hamilton
  • Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
  • Hamilton Music Collective
  • Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO)
  • Hamilton Third Age Learning
  • Greening Marketing
  • Inter Arts Matrix
  • Mohawk College
  • Ontario Music Therapy Academy
  • Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE) (McMaster)
  • Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials (CEPEM) (McMaster)
  • McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA)
  • Meyer Sound
  • Lallemand Health Solutions
  • Yamaha
  • Unitron Research Division
  • GerrAudio
  • Starkey
  • Sonova
  • ON Semiconductor Corporation (onsemi)
The Art of Science: Behind the Scenes Series.
Technology unlocks the mystery of our musical minds.
Speed Dating: Coupled sway, coupled hearts?
The science of sway examines how musicians communicate non-verbally during performances.
Pump Up the Volume: Hearing aids for music listening.
McMaster University teams up with musicians to create opera for babies.
Want to fire up the dance floor? Play low-frequency bass.
The Kennedy Centre Music and Mind Live with Renee Fleming Podcast.
High-tech concert hall measures brain waves and heart rates during performances.
Body language could be the secret behind the sweetest music.