If there was one ubiquitous item at NYU's ITP Winter Show, it was the Kinect. Countless projects were built around the Microsoft-made sensor. Max Ma's Touchless, which he built with a ton of help from Tony Lim, originally featured one, but the version that made it to the floor went with an OEM equivalent instead. But the effect is the same: a set of cameras and sensors track various parts of your face, turning your muscle twitches and eyebrow raises into raw data. While Max says this data can be used for a host of different applications, such as unlocking your door with a series of blinks and winks, he focused on bringing joy to people's lives through music creation. The sensor tracks between 16 and 64 points (under ideal conditions) on your face, and uses your movements to trigger and manipulate samples. Truth is, it's hard not to smile while making ridiculous faces, though, I was a little disappointed to find out that the tracker did not play well with my winter beard.
The main method of interacting is by tilting your head, opening your mouth and raising your eyebrows, but Max added some depth by turning a Leap Motion sensor into a controller for a software synthesizer. So samples and beats are all above the neck, but you can wave your hands through the air to play a lovely lead melody. Really, the whole thing is pretty self-explanatory and quite fun, as you can see in the video after the break.
Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.