Aerodrums 2 system takes air-drumming to the next level
It goes without saying that drum kits take up a lot of space, and are very noisy. The Aerodrums 2 system, however, allows drummers to practice in silence using just a camera module, foot markers, and a special set of drum sticks – no actual drums are involved.
We first heard about the original UK-designed Aerodrums setup back in 2015, when it was unveiled at the NAMM music expo.
The system visually tracked the movements of the user's feet and of a system-specific set of mallet-like sticks, via reflective markers on all four targets. As the user proceeded to mime the movements of playing the drums, special software translated their air-drum strikes into the sounds that would occur if they were hitting or pedal-kicking physical drums or cymbals.
Those sounds could be played through speakers for everyone to hear, or they could just be fed into the user's headphones. They could also be saved as MIDI files, for use in music projects.
One limiting factor of the original system was the fact that the drummer had to sit in front of their third-party camera-equipped PC, which was running the software. Aerodrums 2 gets around that problem by incorporating all the electronics and processing into a wall-outlet-powered compact camera module, which is mounted on an included stand.
That unit initially laser-projects two red dots onto the floor, showing the user where they should place their feet (on which they're wearing a pair of markers). From there, it's just a matter of air-drumming with the included sticks as the module watches and produces the appropriate sounds.
The user can plug their headphones directly into the device plus they can listen to a drum-along music track of their choice, relayed through the unit from a Bluetooth-linked (or hardwired) smartphone.
Utilizing an accompanying app on a laptop or mobile device, the user can additionally see a 3D display of a virtual drum kit with their animated hands and feet playing it in real time. The app also offers features such as skills-building drumming exercises.
The Aerodrums 2 system is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge of £424 (about US$526) will get you one – if everything goes according to plan, that is. The estimated retail price is $799.
You can see and hear the system in use, in the video below.