Though modular synthesizers can be both visually stunning and open the door to almost unlimited digital soundscaping, being able to create music and interact with sonic vaults with the wave of a hand is quite compelling. Team Metanaut's entry into the 2015 Leap Motion 3D Jam offers mid-air touch control of a software synth in a virtual world viewed through an Oculus Rift headset.

Over the last two months, 1,900 developers from 89 countries have been building immersive experiences for virtual reality, mobile, desktop and more, which make use of the Leap Motion 3D sensing platform. The virtual doors of the Leap Motion 3D Jam competition have now closed and 189 entries are being thrown open to community voting, which will help the competition judges determine the finalists.

With over US$75,000 in the prize pot, competition is pretty fierce. One of the projects to register on our radar is Lyra VR, from a team that includes Taiwan-based musician MoShang (Jean Marais). Combining Oculus Rift for visuals with a Leap Motion sensor to track mid-air hand movements, users are presented with a virtual music synthesizer.

Blue hexagonal controls at the front of the VR instrument activate different functions. Other colored geometric shapes represent parameters, instruments, sounds and voices. By activating these virtual icons, players can, for example, create looped drum tracks or sequenced piano pieces or repeating funky synth bass licks and then, with the wave of a hand, mix it all up into something brand new.

Interestingly, anyone with the right equipment can pop over to the project's competition page and try it for themselves. To do this, you'll need to download the Lyra VR software to a computer with at least an Intel i5-4590 processor, 8 GB or RAM and Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD 290 graphics under the hood.

An Oculus Rift DK2 and Leap Motion will need to be plugged in and, for the best experience, headphones connected. Players will then be able to use their hands to interact with the virtual music synthesis world in front of them.

Voting for the Leap Motion 3D Jam is open to community members until December 22. We wish the Metanaut team well. An impressive real-time demo of the Lyra VR system in action can be seen in the video below.

Source: Lyra VR