There have been attempts in the past to use motion as a means of creating music. For example, wearable devices that use the sensors in an iPod touch or iPhone. Or a device that lets you play an invisible violin. Now there’s Point Motion, a new motion sensing system. It’s available as a package containing both the software and a wireless camera, but it also works with webcams you already own.
Unlike other systems, the user doesn’t need to hold a sensor, or have one attached to them, for Point Motion to work. The program connects audio with body movement and provides a number of instrument and sound options. Those options can even be programmed to coincide with specific movements.
So how does it work? Gizmag explains:
“The idea is pretty simple. The camera tracks the movement of the user’s body, sending the data to the computer. The movement is then analyzed and translated into a specific sound or musical phrase”.
With over 1500 pre-programmed sounds and instruments, this system is designed to be useful right out of the box. It’s also possible for users to upload their own sounds and instruments if they can’t find what they want already in the provided library.
Upon launching, two apps will be available. The first, Point Wellness, allows users to create soundtracks to their dance or yoga practices. Puppet Master, the second app, focuses more on live performance with users controlling instrument effects through movement. For example: “doing things like leaning forward to add distortion to an electric guitar or raising an arm to add reverb to vocals”. The developers even say that their system is compatible with popular music production programs such as Ableton and Logic Pro.
Since the system works with standard webcams and not just the company’s hardware, the creators say that there are no minimum requirements for the camera. As long as there is reasonable lighting in the chosen space and the background isn’t too busy, the tracking should be accurate.
When released the software will be able to track the user’s torso, arms, neck, and head. According to the developers, the lack of tracking support for the lower body at the beginning is because most webcams have a narrow field of view.
If the user does want the program’s wireless camera, offers a 5 MP resolution and a built-in battery gives about 12 hours of use between charges. It weighs only 1.4 lbs (0.65 kg) and is 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) wide and 7 inches (18 cm) tall. Although the benefits in the beginning between this and a standard webcam aren’t very big, it is an entirely wireless unit that connects to a host computer over wifi. In other words, the user doesn’t have to place a laptop at the front of a stage for a live performance. This camera also has a wider field of view than most conventional webcams that the developers claim will eventually allow for lower body tracking.
The system is a crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo. The developers aim to raise $50,000USD with pledges starting at $175. With that pledge, people get the bundle with both the software and the hardware. If everything goes to plan, deliveries are estimated to begin in August. After the crowdfunding effort is finished, the software will be made available on its own for $40.
Here’s the video for the project.