GripBeats lets you create music at the wave of a hand
I remember watching open-jawed as digital music artist and inventor Onyx Ashanti waved his Beatjazz Hands around to control the music back in 2012, but also thinking that they were a bit on the bulky side for my taste. Thanks to a collaboration between the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, mid-air gestural control of digital tones has slimmed down quite a bit, resulting in the GripBeats controller.
The wearable's rotational strap design features a 9-axis motion sensor and 32 pressure sensors, and can be played flat on a surface like a finger drum or piano, or wrapped around the wrist like a bracelet or double-grip for mid-air expression. It pairs with a smartphone, tablet or computer over Bluetooth. And though compatible with music production apps like Garageband, Logic Pro and Ableton for MIDI control, playing software instruments and more, it also has its own app that teaches you how to play and translates gestures into music.
Essentially, the wearer combines hand movements and touch control to trigger notes, samples, melodies and effects running on software. Or, as the development team puts it, "everything you thought you could do with an instrument before you can do now, but without it!" There's an LED ring included for visual feedback during a performance, and a vibration motor will be embedded into the design so you can feel the beat too.
The GripBeats app can accommodate up to four people connecting to it at once, making for multi-user musical collaborations. If you already play a real-world instrument, you could use GripBeats to enhance your performance by triggering fills or preset melodies with certain movements, all while playing your go-to piano, drums or whatever.
The GripBeats project is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter, where pledges start at US$99. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in May 2020. The video below has more.