Leap Motion Alters Sounds of Multiple Instruments

As Dev Kits for the Leap Motion start trickling in, designers are coming up with some compelling uses for this motion-based controller.

Stephane Bersot recently used his to control a number of physical musical instruments. Using the Leap Motion he composed and performed a tune that uses air drums, controls the pitch on his guitar, and the EQ on his piano.

The lead licks on the guitar are especially impressive, with pitch bends that rival Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins.


The trickiest part for Stephane seemed to be the air drums. He explains:

My method is pretty basic and still needs some work actually. It wasn’t easy to play drums with it. I used the velocities and the position of the pointables on the X axis. Basically I play a note when I reach the right velocity (down motion) then to avoid the note to be played many times I wait for the velocity to be crossed the other way (up motion). Add to that a bit of filtering to smooth the results and that works ok for this video.


In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

View more articles by Michael Colombo