Sunday, November 25, 2007

Virtual Air Guitar

The Virtual Air Guitar is a new way of experiencing music. It is an instrument literally played in the air: no strings, no keys, just you, free to perform.

Playing air guitar is like playing rock guitar, only without the guitar or any musical skills. It is a wild show, it is letting go, it is the essence of the rock attitude. But up until now, air guitarists have been limited to playing along existing music. The Virtual Air Guitar changes all this. It is an entertainment device that you can learn to use instantly - no musical skills required. The guitar does not merely respond - you are actually playing it. It's a new way of experiencing music.

The Virtual Air Guitar consists of several pieces of software. The user's actions are read by the input device, such as a webcam, and passed through gesture recognition. A musical intelligence module interprets these gestures and sends commands to the sound model, which produces the final sound. The mapping of the user's gestures into sound model controls is very complex, making the sound model itself totally invisible - the user does not need to know anything about it to play.

The Virtual Air Guitar is a project developed at the Telecommunications Software and Multimedia Laboratory and the Acoustics Laboratory of the Helsinki University of Technology, and was finished in March 2005. It is an entertainment device that lets users have fun in the spirit of air guitar. It is not an expressive instrument that you need to spend years learning how to play. Anyone can play air guitar, so everyone is able to play the Virtual Air Guitar as well. All you need is a pair of orange gloves and a rock'n'roll attitude. The goal is to provide people without musical skills the chance to experience the fun of playing and creating music, and to expand their concept of listening music to experiencing it.

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