Oculus Rift + Kinect – Audio visual instrument a001 from Ethno Tekh on Vimeo.

That window between science fiction and actual interfaces continues to narrow. Here, virtual hands paw at geometric orbs to produce sound, with simultaneous 3D visuals as accompaniment, in the latest artist/hacker experiment. You can thank the popular and surprisingly-accessible game engine, Unity – which recently added free deployment to mobiles, by the way. Description:

This is our first Kinect-controlled, virtual reality experiment, using the greatly anticipated Oculus Rift.
It’s a simple virtual reality environment built in Unity 3D with our own interactive framework. It allows us to use the Kinect to trigger two audio loops and apply basic effects using Max/MSP.
This is the start of a project that will evolve into installation artworks as well as become a part of our performances.
For more information on our work:

And you can expect a lot more of this, because Microsoft has a new Kinect. Part of Xbox One, the upgraded 3D camera now features smarter camera detection to differentiate people from one another, from objects, and even individual fingers or facial gestures. The result is something that, as I write on Create Digital Motion, gets closer to intuitive physical movement:

New Kinect Gets Closer to Your Body [Videos, Links]

Wired takes a look:

And here’s what that Kinect looks like, courtesy Microsoft. We’ll be eager to hear more about gestural tracking, latency, and hackability – and how this stacks up to Leap Motion for music apps.