Based on work with the Oblong g-speak “spatial operating environment” gestural system – research that inspired the film Minority Report – our friend Trey Harrison has been doing some wonderful work with new Theremin-style interfaces. He writes:

I have been working with Oblong Industries (http://oblong.com) and
took some of my
spare time to combine their technology with my Salvation project
(http://slvtn.com)
and build a theremin-like instrument.

There are three degrees of control:

  • Pitch is adjusted by moving hands left and right.
  • Volume is adjusted by moving hands up and down.
  • Vibrato is adjusted by moving hands foward and backward.

Many players and hands are possible, and the control can be applied to any MIDI instrument.

I like the fact that two hands are only the beginning — invite friends for collaborative sessions and get an octo-armed version! The pitch scaling certainly makes it easier to hit the notes, although it does remove some of the expressive pitch bends of the original Theremin. It’d be nice if an additional gesture (pinching, perhaps?) could allow you to warp between scale degrees.

I love the project; I hope we get to see more.

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