We've seen attempts to use motion to create music before, including wearables that make use of the sensors in an iPod touch or iPhone, and even a device that lets users play an invisible violin. The Point Motion doesn't require the user to be holding a sensor, or have one attached to their person at all. It's all about linking audio with body movement, providing a host of instrument and sound options that can be programmed to correspond to specific motions.
The idea is pretty simple. The camera tracks the movement of the user's body, sending the data to the computer. The movement is then analyzed and translated into a specific sound or musical phrase.
The Point Motion is designed to do a fair bit out of the box, with more than 1,500 pre-loaded sounds and instruments included. If the user can't find what they're looking for in the supplied library, then it's also possible to upload their own.
There will be two apps available at launch. The first, known as Point Wellness lets you create instant soundtracks to your yoga or dance routine, while the second is more geared toward live performance. Known as Puppet Master, it allows users to control live instrument effects via movement, doing things like leaning forward to add distortion to an electric guitar or raising an arm to add reverb to vocals. According to the team, the system is compatible with popular music production suites like Ableton and Logic Pro.
Interestingly, the software will also work with standard webcams, meaning that you don't actually have to pick up the company's hardware or have something like a Kinect camera in order to use it. There's no minimum requirements for the camera, and the team claims that tracking should be accurate as long as there's reasonable lighting in the chosen space and that the background isn't too busy.
At release, the software will allow for the tracking of a user's torso, arms, neck and head, but not the lower body. According to the project's creators, that initial limitation is due to the narrow field of view of most standard webcams.
The optional, purpose-built camera offers a 5 MP resolution, weighs 1.4 lb (0.65 kg) and measures 6.5 in (16.5 cm) wide and 7 in (18 cm) tall. It has its own battery on board, providing an estimated 12 hours of use between charges. The benefits over a standard webcam aren't huge – at least not at launch – with the biggest draw being that it's a separate, entirely wireless unit, connecting to a host PC (or Mac) over Wi-Fi.
That means you don't have to, for example, place a laptop in front of a stage to use the system for a live performance. The camera also has a wide field of view, which the team claims will allow for lower body tracking somewhere down the line (though not at launch).
The Point Motion is a crowdfunding effort, meaning you can't buy one just yet. The project is now live on Indiegogo, where it's looking to raise US$50,000. Pledges start at $175 for the software and hardware bundle, with delivery estimated as August 2016 if all goes to plan. The software on its own will be made available sometime after the crowdfunding effort concludes, priced at $40.
For more on the project, you can take a look at the video below.
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