Visual Music Systems


Bill Sebastian

Back in the 1970’s, Bill developed the Outer Space Visual Communicator (OVC), a visual music instrument that generated images on a custom-built display. Performances were given at various theatres in Boston and New York, with the Sun Ra Arkestra and other musicians. This was followed by the development of equipment to map video images of the OVC into custom built video effects and processing devices and production of videos with Sun Ra and other musicians. Magazine articles about the OVC as well as pictures, videos, and technical details are available on the OVC page.

The original OVC was followed by design of a 3D version of the system, and a company Virtual Scene Systems was formed to develop hardware and software for this project. When the company ran out of funding, a new company Intelligent Compression Technologies (ICT) was formed to commercialize data compression algorithms that had been developed during this project. These systems were licensed to Real Networks, Compaq Computer, Novell and other computer networking companies.

In 1998, Nortel Networks licensed the compression engine and then funded ICT to develop a wireless network acceleration system based on this engine. The result was AcceleNet, which was first released in 2001, and was licensed to wireless and dial-up Internet service providers. Microsoft licensed the system for use by MSN and incorporated it into the MSN browser.

In February, 2007, ICT was sold to ViaSat, which manufactures satellite data communications equipment and is launching the ViaSat-1 Ka-band satellite this August. ViaSat purchased WildBlue in October, 2009, which provides Internet service to 400,000 families in the US. Bill worked as CTO of the network optimization group at ViaSat for the next 4 years, authoring over 40 patents covering various aspects of satellite networking.

In March, 2011, Bill founded Visual Music Systems to resume the development of the 3D synthesizer.

Bob Eastwood

Bob has known Bill longer than either care to admit. Bob worked with Bill at Virtual Scene Systems and subsequently co-founded Accelenet (ICT) After the sale of Accelenet to ViaSat Bob devoted his free time to his favorite past-times; his kids and his motorcycles. In early ’11 Bill asked if Bob was interested in being part of the realization of his lifelong ambition and Visual Music Systems was launched.

As for the technical stuff, Bob graduated from U.W. Madison with a B.S. in CSEE. He spent ten years as a Research Engineer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the Department of Ocean Engineering developing control systems for underwater robots, exploring wrecks, and poking things into hydrothermal vents. While at WHOI Bob authored numerous scientific papers on underwater vehicle, instrumentation, and communcation technologies.

Rita Sebastian

Rita graduated from Brandeis Heller School for Social Policy in 2009 with a Masters in Sustainable International Development. Her lifelong dedication to social, economic, and environmental justice was recently recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild.

She enjoys cultivating urban gardens in the office, creating a more delicious and enjoyable work space. Her fresh baked cookies are the star of many a meeting.

And with gratitude to...

Nathaniel Resnikoff

Nathaniel has been playing with music and computers for 25 years. He developed the wavelet music transform, a multi-resolution spectral analysis technique that produces responsive, detailed images of sound. His software is used for audio visualization and transcription, and powers a blog exploring spectral music theory. Music visualizations have played in various film festivals,including the Boston Visual Music Marathon and International Punto y Raya Festival, as well as a live performance with the band Birdsongs of the Mesozoic.

Yulia Yelkhimova

Yulia graduated from the math department of St.Petersburg University in Russia and received her PhD there in 1995. She investigated the stability of non-linear automatic control systems for her dissertation. At the time, she hated programming and decided to instead teach mathematics at St. Petersburg University of Architecture for a year. After experiencing a change of heart, she learned how to program and began working for Process Intelligence, out of Edinburgh, UK, focusing on creating systems for testing memory chips.

Joshua Slocum

Josh graduated from MIT with a B.S. in June ’10, and an M.E. in August ’11, in computer science with a concentration in artificial intelligence. His thesis research involved developing novel linear algebra algorithms for an experimental massively parallel computing architecture; this work led to the co-authorship of two papers and helped to demonstrate the potential of alternative program execution models.