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In 2007, the University of Mons (UMONS) established the Institute for New Media Art Technology (NUMEDIART). It comes as the result of many years of preparation and has led to UMONS achieving internationally recognised appraisal in the field of sound, image, video, gestures and biosignals processing for applications where human-computer interaction aims to prompt emotion.

Today, the Institute embraces the efforts of a total of 70 researchers across 10 different departments within 5 faculties of UMONS (Applied Sciences, Science, Architecture, Psychology and Education, and Economy). NUMEDIART’s mission is to provide educational training and research in the field of digital art technology, while capitalising on the momentum of Mons 2015, and to contribute to the development and creation of new activities in the creative industries sector.

Its activities are guided by strategic consulting of the NUMEDIART Consortium, comprising of 15 members based in Wallonia, including representatives of research, arts, the entertainment industry and businesses. The Consortium meets regularly and provides an optimal match between the themes of research projects conducted by the Institute and regional needs in order to contribute to scientific, economic and cultural development.

NUMEDIART was created as an extension of the NUMEDIART Programme of Excellence, which was funded by the Région Wallonne Government with 1 million euros per year from 2007 until 2012. This has allowed the hiring of senior project managers to complement professors of UMONS and researchers that the Institute has been able to financially support by means of regional, national and European funds, as wells funds from UMONS and through public-private partnerships.

Research Themes

NUMEDIART researchers focus on 6 main research themes.

  • Similarity-based hypermedia navigation in large media content. The idea here is to allow one or more users to quickly find data amongst a large collection of multimedia data, for example, sounds, images, videos and 3D objects.






  • Interactive performances, for which we have developed a set of miniature and wireless sensors that measure the movements of a performer or object as it happens and to allow for real-time on-stage interaction.



Augmented conductor



  • Digital lutherie, which aims to develop innovative musical instruments (new or existing instruments enhanced by sensors).





  • Monumental projections, which are designed to project images and videos of large 3D structures (buildings) using multiple synchronised projectors.





  • Motion capture (MOCAP), which analyses resulting data, for controlling avatars and animated characters. Our research has been able to directly contribute to the development of a video clip of Belgian rock group  “Ghinzu”, as well as to the launch capsule of a series of cartoons for MAMEMO, and to the development of a system for automatically detecting keywords for 3D animation.
  • Social interaction, in which we are developing tools to track people in large spaces, such as in museums, based on the concept of computational attention, and to analyse interactions between individuals in a group. We have used these principles for the KinAct project and for the on-going Medianeum project.

Organisation of Research

Research is conducted at the NUMEDIART Institute in two ways.

As in all research centres, medium-term and long-term projects (2-4 years) are conducted by teams of researchers, under the supervision of professors, aiming to help create intellectual proprietary in the field of digital technology. This applies to most theses and applied research projects in conjunction with businesses. This research leads to patents and scientific publications.

In addition, the Institute has developed an innovative mechanism, based on the AGILE software development methods which are well-known in the industry and entails achieving ambitious goals in short stages (sprints) leading to a great response. NUMEDIART runs 3 or 4 short-term projects (3-6 months) in parallel every 3 months, corresponding to a project session. Multidisciplinary teams who undertake these projects are led by project managers, and are made up of the same researchers who are involved in the longer-term projects. The objectives of these projects are defined and discussed among project managers and digital artists and/or contractors who solicit them. Each project leads to a technical and/or artistic demonstrator during a public presentation at the end of each project session.

Both types of project depend on each other: short-term projects apply technology developed in long-term projects if it this technology is available, or they trigger the launch of longer projects.


The NUMEDIART’space is the core of the Institute, with an “all-digital” show stage, allowing researchers to test the technologies developed within the projects under real conditions. In addition to HD video and 8.1 audio equipment, the lab has 3D cameras, a system of miniature and wireless sensors developed by NUMEDIART (accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers), an IGS-190 motion capture system, as well as facial motion capture systems and software (OptiTrack) and a professional eye-tracking system.

The NUMEDIART’space is also available to artists who wish to benefit from this range of equipment and software in order to prepare performances and installations.