September 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Air Beats: Augmented Reality Drumset for iPad

air drums techcrunch disrupt sf hackathon

It’s probably not okay to hit your iPad… unless you’re playing virtual drums on its screen.

Air Beats, unveiled at TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon, lets you play onscreen drums by hitting not your iPod, but rather spaces in front of its screen that correlate to onscreen drums and cymbals. (Air Beats uses the iPad 2′s front-facing camera, so it won’t work with the first-generation iPad.)

“It’s a fully-automatic drum kit, drum synthesizer, and game,” explained Hunter Davis, who built Air Beats with Heena Rastogi, Joy Liu, and Ryan Tsukamoto. “Select from our library of songs, and you’ll be rocking anywhere. All you need is a pair of drumsticks and your iPad.”

Some of the hacks presented at this event exist mostly in the minds of their creators (the people who drew a picture of a chair for hackers, we’re looking at you). However, Air Beats is fully-functional, as we witnessed firsthand after the presentation (see photo above).

It’s neat — the drums appear in outline form until your green-tipped drumsticks make “contact” with them, when their images get filled in, and latency appeared to be minimal, meaning that real drummers shouldn’t have too much of a problem with it (other than philosophically).

Read about all of the music hacks from the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon.