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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.