Leap Motion: Qbert nails hands-free scratching


First there was air guitar, then the zipper scratch. But Leap Motion seem to have made air scratching a practical reality if this freshly squeezed clip of scratch legend DJ Qbert is to be believed.

For those not aware, the Leap Motion controller is a 3D motion device, capable of capturing movements and translating them to screen commands. It’s incredibly clever, and watching the demo movie shows that it really is the next leap beyond multi-touch on a trackpad.

But quite what is going on in this clip is hard to work out. I’m sure the Leap Motion can make a good attempt at capturing the hand movement. But I’m unsure of how the fader clicks are handled. It looks like the finger positions correspond to a grid, so a crab could be pulled off by essentially drumming your fingers in the air.

leap motion qbert

It all looks very clever, and opens the door to a new world of controller-free DJing. But it does beggar the question — would you really want to scratch without vinyl? Would you feel comfortable stood in front of a Mac doing little more than fidgeting? Is there anything in DJing that you would be happy doing without a physical control?

Oh and marvel at how I didn’t mention Minority Report once.

  • Chris W

    I have one of these and I love it. Any word what program he is using?

    • Ezmyrelda

      Looks like something custom and unfinished.

  • dj crossfade

    i knew one day that qbert would be so good he would get powers to scratch with mind

  • khaiyin

    It took me almost a minute to realise it was a looping video…

  • nem0nic

    This isn’t “real” (that is to say he’s not controlling anything with
    his hand). He’s playing a sample and running the diagnostic visualizer
    app built into the LM Control Panel (under the Troubleshooting tab). Of
    course, it doesn’t make the idea of the article any less interesting, I
    only post this to keep a bunch of people from searching in vain for
    something that doesn’t exist. Right now, the kind of motions Q’s hand
    is making would not be converted into discreet messages by the Leap
    Motion. Anyone who’s used it will be able to tell you that you have to
    be very clear and deliberate with your gestures or LM doesn’t see them.

    Also, the Leap Motion controller works equally well in Windows.

    • jibber jabber

      Your assessment of what is happening in the video is incorrect. The leap motion controller tracks hand movement in 3 dimensions very precisely using geco. Which is what he is using.

  • Keir Fleming

    For anyone that watched Master of The Mix this reminds me of the Ipad guy. He controlled everything from moving the ipad and never touched any vinyl or decks. Everyone slated him and said it was boring to watch. I’m thinking the same about this. Interesting concept but I can’t see it taking off

  • http://spencerthayer.tumblr.com Spencer “Thunderball” Thayer

    Any ideas what Leap Motion app that is?

    • nem0nic

      I said it in my earlier post. It’s the DiagnosticVisualizer in the Leap Motion control panel app.

      • jibber jabber

        Actually if you watch the YouTube . He is using the geco midi controller app. You actually are very uninformed. Q’s hand motions are controlling the scratching very precisely. The imbedded video is deceptive because he is running geco behind the visualizer for some reason.

  • mobone

    Looks like too late, and no sound, because some frenchie is already on the cut :

  • mobone
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  • The_KLH

    IMHO, the more new technologies mimic turntablism, the more people flock to TTs and vinyl… because TTs and vinyl are what people want to see with turntablism performances.

  • Sigh

    This is a motion capture demo using the built in visualiser with a sample playing in the background, LEAP motion is in not Mac based, it’s cross platform and you beg a question, not beggar.

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      I stand corrected. When I first saw Leap Motion, all the demos were on a Mac, as has everything I’ve seen since. Apologies and fixed.

      Your assertion about begs and beggars is open to debate, with scholars and writers arguing all over the net about correct usage. There seems to be a strong feeling that “begs the question” is wrong in the context of raising the question. It was interesting to dig into the subject a little more.

      • Sigh

        Fair play, apologies for the grumpy tone of my comment, rough morning ;)

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