LEAP Motion is an American company determined to create a more fluid interaction between users and their computers. Launched in 2012, the company has launched a few iterations of their ultracompact sensors, and we’ve got a few of them here in the Music Tech program!
The LEAP Motion sensor has two cameras and three infrared LEDs packed into its tiny body to track user movement with extreme precision. The signal is sent at roughly 200 frames per second, creating essentially no latency, making it an obvious candidate for music software development. The sensors even respond down to changes of 0.7 millimeters, offering more precision than the standard MIDI controller.
LEAP Motion has been quite open with developers and there’s already a strong selection of software for what’s still a relatively new product. The Airspace app store has these various programs available for purchase, including GECO, a MIDI translator for the LEAP Motion signal. Using the GECO software, users can control up to 40 different parameters in their DAW using both hands, across 16 different midi channels. You might think of this controller as a fully programmable theremin.
The software allows you to customize the range of the MIDI signal. For instance, you might not want the software to start responding until your hand is a foot above the sensor, and you may want it to stop responding after two feet. All of this is possible to specify within GECO, which will even recognize a closed hand versus an open one, and various other positions. The only qualm one might take with this flexibility is the same as we’ve mentioned on this blog in the past—so many options can become daunting for setup. However, once you’ve got all of your gestures assigned, the possibilities for expression and showmanship using the LEAP Motion controller are really exciting. Check out some videos of the controller with Ableton below!