Therenect – Kinect Theremin from Martin Kaltenbrunner on Vimeo.

Who says technology has to move fast and die young? Leon Theremin may have been a full century ahead of his time, before computers, before transistors, before jet engines or atomic power or rockets.

ReacTable creator Martin Kaltenbrunner has a virtual Theremin prototype built with Microsoft’s depth-sensing, 3D Kinect camera. And what he really needs is some players of the real Theremin to help develop it. Martin writes CDM:

I just finished my first musical instrument based on the Kinect controller. The Therenect is a virtual Theremin, which defines two virtual antenna points that allow controlling the pitch and volume of a simple oscillator. The distance to these points can be controlled by freely moving the hand in three dimensions or by reshaping the hand, which allows gestures that are quite similar to playing an actual Theremin.

At the moment I am getting in contact with some trained Theremin players in order to tune the application to fully simulate the behavior of an actual Theremin. We will then publish some additional videos with a more musical experience … The software has been developed using the Open Frameworks and OpenKinect libraries and will be released under an open source license when it is more mature.

On our sister site Create Digital Motion, we’ve also noted that Martin’s new library allows OSC communication anywhere, so if a virtual Theremin isn’t inspiring your Kinect dreams, you can make something else.

Kinect with Anything: TUIO Gestures from Kinect

Kinect may be popular at the moment, but lest you feel rushed, just remember – a hundred years later, people still play the Theremin. So maybe if your idea is worthwhile, you’ve got some time. (Erm, not to enable any more procrastination.)