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Leap - A New Interface For Gestural Music?

The Leap Motion controller hasn't even shipped, and already it's creating a huge buzz in the gestural input community.  The natural progression for our community, of course, is using it as a controller for gestural musical instruments.

But let's rewind a moment.  What is the Leap Motion, exactly? 

Think Microsoft Kinect shrunk down to the size of an Altoids can, but actually a little smaller.  Instead of sitting on top of your monitor or your mantel, it sits just in front of your keyboard on the desktop.  Hidden inside the small device is an array of LEDs and cameras that provide 3D motion tracking at a claimed 100x the granularity of the Kinect.

This means that very small hand motions can be detected with the device...  Currently, the Kinect can't really discern one finger from another, but the Leap Motion can, as you'll see in the video above.  The possibilities this opens up for gestural input are astounding, and musical instruments as well.

After watching the video, there are still plenty of open questions about the true capabilities and limitations of the Leap Motion.  They've shipped over 10,000 prototype devices to early registrants of their developers program, and some pretty compelling music hacks have surfaced already.  I've applied to their developer program and have pre-ordered a Leap Motion device to experiment with.  At just $70 apiece, it's just too tempting to ignore!

Source:  CreateDigitalMusic.com

 

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