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Not so transportable air drums

The computer graphics lab where Richard and I used to work had a motion capture studio. These are used to record the movement of actors for the purpose of animating computer generated characters you see in films or video games. The lab’s system is of the optical tracking kind, made by Vicon. It uses a dozen high speed infra-red cameras to film the studio from different angles, and then triangulates the position of markers worn by the actors to reconstruct their movements over time.

I had been getting good results tracking the motion of some gherkin pincers live at 120 Hertz for a 3D modeling interface project. This is when Richard came up with the idea of trying to use the system to do “air drumming”.

We drilled a few holes in Richard’s drumsticks to attach some markers and configured the system to recognize them in real time. After a bit of experimenting, we got this proof of concept working well enough for Richard to drum like he would on his real kit:

When we get closer to the release of Aerodrums early next year, we will explain how we cut down on the few suitcases of Vicon cameras and routers to fit the result in a backpack.
In the meanwhile, we will be talking about Aered, a sheet music editor designed specifically for drummers.