The Airpiano, An Instrument Played by Hand Gestures

airpiano

The airpiano is a touch-free electronic instrument that the musician plays by making hand gestures above it. As musician Jo Hamilton demonstrates, the airpiano is fully programmable: the “keys” can be configured as tones and as faders for sound filters and volume. We first wrote about the airpiano prototype in 2008; it is now available for sale.

The airpiano is the first musical interface to introduce an intuitive and simple touch-free interaction. Many touch-free interfaces require users to stare at a display. The user’s hand gestures in 3D space then control elements on the screen. However, musicians and performers need to be able to play their instruments in a more free and intuitive way. The airpiano’s keys and faders are therefore not on the screen, but exactly there above the airpiano surface. The performer knows the position of each controller in the air, so no display is needed.

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