Timothy Min demonstrates his project at Georgia Tech Arts Plaza
Photo: https://arts.gatech.edu

Graduating with Empathy: Timothy Min

Graduating with Empathy: Timothy Min

Before Timothy Min came to Georgia Tech for a Master of Science in Music Technology degree, he was already amazed by both the power of music to move people and the deep integration of music technology within music. Once he connected with the Brain Music Lab, he knew he could find a way to use music technology to help people.

Awards/Honors/Affiliations while at Georgia Tech:

Timothy Min demonstrates project, "Empathy for Two," at Guthman Fair.
Timothy Min demonstrates project, "Empathy for Two," at Guthman Fair.

1. What is your musical background, and how has that influenced your passion for music technology?

I started playing guitar in 5th grade, and ended up also playing for churches and other conferences. With much passion for music already, I chose to pursue a music major specializing in classical guitar along with a minor in Electronic Sound Synthesis at UCSC. At UCSC, I had the privilege of learning under multiple Grammy Award winning classical guitarists which made me fall deeper in love with music in total. I think the deeper I got into music, the more I realized how much it moved people. And furthermore, I found out that through music technology, you could influence the brain, the body, and our entire emotional perception through music!

Another thing that continues to amaze me day to day is about how vast music technology is. There's so many backgrounds and specialties that come all together, and truly it is filled with such wonderful, intelligent people!

2. What drove your interest in music technology? How did you come to this program?

My interest in music technology began in my undergrad program in the UCSC Electronic Sound Synthesis minor. I was completely blown away at how much music and technology was out there that I have yet to explore! My mentor and professor in the program, Michelle Lou, truly opened my eyes to how much technology is integrated within music. Then I found out you could implement biosignals like heartbeats into the system, when Michelle connected me to Grace Leslie in the Brain Music Lab here at Georgia Tech!

Timothy Min and Rick Beato on stage at the Guthman Concert.
Timothy Min, right, introduces Rick Beato at the Guthman Concert.

3. What were some of your favorite experiences or projects in the music technology program?

My favorite experience is being able to see people being amazed at research installations. So far, it's been open to the public multiple times at the Ferst Center, at the Science Fair, and at other demos, and it's such a pleasure to see peoples' faces light up in hearing their heartbeats control the music.

Also, being able to emcee the Guthman Competition alongside Paula Antonelli (Senior Curator of MoMA), Rick Beato (Youtube Personality), and Gerhard Behles (CEO of Ableton) was truly a pleasure and such an exciting night of witnessing the best, new instruments from around the world!

4. You won the 3MT competition Master's 1st place with your project, "Empathy for Two." What is this project?

This project is a musical installation that takes the heartbeats of two strangers and controls layers of harmonies based on the unification of heartbeats. The closer the heart rates get, the more harmonies you'll hear. Likewise, the further the heart rates get from each other, the harmonies will begin to fade out. And the overarching task is to create empathy among strangers through unifying their heartbeats!

Timothy Min presents project at Three Minute Thesis competition
Photo: Georgia Tech
Timothy Min presents "Empathy for Two" project at Three Minute Thesis competition

5. How did you come to focus on this aspect of music technology?

When I got into the Brain Music Lab, I knew that I wanted to do research combining these four qualities:

  • Influential Sound Design
  • Increase the Wellbeing of People
  • Be a Public Installation
  • Incorporate human body signals

And one of our colleagues, Mike Winters, had already been working on empathy, and so I decided to build upon his research! I just wanted to make this world a more loving, understanding place and with the right motivations, I truly believe that this research will point the right direction!

6. What are your plans for the future?

Other than spending time with my chihuahuas, currently just looking to join the work force! We have talked about potentially talking with VR companies in how to implement biosignals into their systems. If anyone out there is looking for someone specializing in empathy, VR, research, or project management, I'm your guy!


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