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Kinect-based Computer Orchestra Uses Computers as Musicians: You Are the Conductor

 |  |  |  |  September 24, 2013

Nowadays it’s quite possible to create and play music live using a computer. You can also use MIDI controllers to make it easier for you to interact with music software and audio files. However, pushing keys and fiddling with knobs isn’t intuitive or fun to watch. Computer Orchestra manages to be both by letting you be a conductor of computers.


Computer Orchestra was made by three students from the art and design university ECAL. Simon de Diesbach, Jonas Lacôte and Laura Perrenoud designed it to be a crowdsourcing interface for uploading samples and then triggering them on different computers using simple hand gestures.

The idea is that you’ll upload samples to or download samples from a website, then you’ll assign those samples to your “musicians” – in this case, the members of the orchestra are all laptops. Using a Wi-Fi connection, a Kinect sensor, a programming language called Processing and the software library called SimpleOpenNI, you can then trigger those computers to play by waving your hands towards them. There also seems to be other gestures that vary the way the computers play the samples.

I know it’s very impractical, but it also seems like a lot of fun. Perhaps it’s possible to make a simpler version of this with a Leap controller and an array of color or light sensors. Using one laptop per sample seems like overkill, although it’s a sight to behold.

[via Designboom]