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Future DJing Technology? Leap Motion Control

From the “this would be awesome to DJ with” department, we couldn’t help but feature this soon-to-launch technology that allows for three dimensional control over your computer using just your hands. It’s called the Leap – and it’s a iPod-size motion detection box that sits at the base of your monitor. A promo video and full description after the jump!

We think this could have some very interesting implications for live performance and DJing – much like the interesting performance hacks we’ve seen come out of the Kinect (see the Space Palette example here), except instead of having to be hacked, Leap is being opened up to active development for all types of uses.


It’s important to think about what types of controls would be effective and enjoyable to use with motion, and what might still just feel better tactile. A lot of lessons learned from touchscreen DJ devices apply here – for example, turning knobs on touchscreens sucks, but XY touch pads are an awesome replacement when filtering or applying effects.

With motion detection on the Leap capable of tracking hand movements to a 1/100th of a millimeter, we know that the ability for precise control over knobs and faders would be possible, will it be fun? We think there’s a lot of potential for applying Fader/Jog FX to motions, perhaps increasing in depth as you push your closed fist towards the computer, and then altering the effect by rotating your fist or opening your hand to a splay.

And don’t forget about the possibilities for producers and musicians playing live – controlling instruments and samples in Ableton Live with the Leap device could prove spectacular.


We’re excited to let you all know that we’ve applied to the developer program – we think there’s some awesome potential here for a new way to control DJ software. What would you use the Leap box to control? How would a Minority Report-style of input improve or fit into your workflow? We want to know!

Learn more about the Leap device on the official Leap Motion website

  • Aaron

    Here is another one worth seeing … using Leap motion to control an audio (delay/filter) effect:

  • This looks amazing! Please let me know it it gets an app for Ableton Live and/or DJing email on About page

  • Soundlabor

    where to buy?

  • Happy Candy Project

    I imagine so serious mapping for that! just right now when we have music deck sampler deck and efex deck just with almost no space, imagine you place one finger then mixing deck apears 2 fingers sampler deck apears with many other new cool feautures, 3 fingers mixing deck in the air …, 4 fingers song finder!!

    wi will all end up dancing la macarena in front of the computer!!!

  • Djteeoh

    Simple question…Can more than one be hooked up?!?! 
    You could set one for volume on ch1 and one ch 2. Then a couple more for things like visualization + effects parameters or scrolling through your library and loading. What would be really tight is to have your screen on a projector on the wall so the crowd can see and then having this hooked up too.

    Great for EDM type djs but not so much other genres. But Im sure I can find out a way to incorporate into HipHop.

  • Strages_01

    You Still have to use you’re hands……!?!?!?!  :p

  • just pre orderd!

  • Nilesh Parmar

    The future 🙂

  • Fooshead

    everyone is thinking up and showing off, not me.. down and focused:
    a virtual needle face down, as an alternative to timecode input.  
    it would ignore your hand gestures and only look for
    changes in a pattern-decorated spinning vinyl record, on ANY type of turntable.
    the turntable wouldn’t have to be expensive, and there’d be virtually no
    wear and tear on the ‘timecode’ record.

  • Casiopro

    this is incredible the technology that is available these days. Soon we will be ding with our minds!!

  • Everyone loves tactile control surfaces so why do designers insist on trying to make us want products with ever decreasing tactile control?! This looks horrible to use give me my hardware mixer any day!

  • My first idea is the common response; This thing would kill for effects. 3D control could allow for manipulation of 3 banks of parameters for effects in Traktor, similar to Fader FX on the VCI or the S4 custom mapping. I imagine it being awesome to have a loop-size control with depth, a reverb/delay combination effect vertically, and filter horizontally. Reaching out to the crowd while creating a huge epic buildup, and dropping it as you literally drop your hand. I say it’s got potential.

  •  I was there with the developers about 3 months ago 🙂 I’m such a hipster, this is old news to me.

  • Spektakx

    Here’s a few more interesting “air based” motion sensing style tech you guys might like

  • Already on it! I’ve also applied to the developer’s program to see if it’ll help me along on my thesis for a new interactive DJ UI! So excited! 

  • err no!!! it is no the future DJTT, this is not a control interface i want use if i want to look like i want to conduct i would take up classical music not electronic, but i can not denie the the appilcations of this tech to a studio setup over a live setup…

  • Air

  • Will be amazing when some bimbo comes near and throws her hand into the zone. Or if someone in the audience can read sign language and thinks you are signing like you have a handicap. Home studio setups this will be very interesting… In a club for the average dj I highly doubt this will ever come to fruition

    • Mistermr

      You gotta manage your space dude, I don’t let people near my gear, it’s too expensive to take that chance.

  • Tye Walters

    I think this would be most usefull for navigating through your library quickly. but other than that, i wouldn’t replace any of current equipment with this.

  • Spektakx

    I can imagine having a whole set of controls, that with the touch of a modifier, going to air. My concern with the Leap as opposed to the Kinect or Asus Xtion Pro, is the size of it’s sensing field. It appears to have a small field, whereas the others can sense an entire body, from a distance. I posted on my blog something similar, where Mixvibes was being tested with the Kinect at the Microsoft Accelerator Program.

  • celtic-dj

    wow,,,this is definitely good news for performing artists…

    gandalf is going live !!! 

  • Mistermr

    Seriously the only thing I can see this working well for where it would be easy and awesome is faders. Imagine literally waving to the crowd as you swipe left or right, up or down. Super simple and would make you look like Jesus. Not to mention it would partially solve the question of “is the DJ doing that or is it the remix?”

    • Spektakx

      exactly, air kills, too. but I think coming out of a breakdown and dialing out the fx with a big sweep would be amazing

      • Mistermr


  • …but what do you think about a motion control system where the dancing crowd controls the sound via video tracking of the dancefloor ? Ive made a research on this about 2 years ago…

    • Yeah this is cool. I wouldn’t mind playing around with this. How does one get a copy of the software? Please email if you want to talk off list.

    • RenC

      Tony Stark like tossing of tracks to load in your software and selecting them would be real cool instead of reaching over with touching to make it happen. It can save time and get your hands back to the physical decks while Djing.

  • Ronald Edwards

    I think the technology is neat, but it’s a solution looking for a problem. What is the problem this technology resolves?

    One thing I think this technology might be a useful for (regarding audio) is momentary control of audio placement using spatial sound like a 3D sound board or VST effects, but it seems the world resists spatial sound like it resists 3D movies.

    I’m not at all excited about having to hold my hands up in something that’s about the size of a microwave oven for hours… it’s an ergonomic nightmare (I can already imagine the cramps in my shoulders from having to do so).

    This technology lends itself better to sculpting in 3D than it does for audio manipulation… unless you’re pushing a gimmick-heavy performance.

  • Yaz2198

    i prefer the feel of a mixer and physical devices…… but this could have some cool potential

  • Djf0tif0

    Holy moly
    That what i can say
    Definitely one of the gadgets to get

  • Filitico

    a whole new level of air guitar and fist pumping has arrived

  • Damn, super cheap too. Only $70. This is a good product for live performers. Think about an app that takes this in and spits out midi. You can connect with a crowd by showing that your movements are causing the audio to do cool things. 

  • JuanSOLO

    I dont understand the fascination with “hands in the air” control.

    • Zac Kyoti

       Didn’t feel right back in the 90’s with my D-Beam SP-808, doesn’t feel right now…

    • Zac Kyoti

       Yet I still feel like this could be strangely awesome for experimentation. That price point is crazy amazing. Seriously? *mixed feelings*

      • JuanSOLO

        It’s a gimmick. SERIOUSLY. Whats the point anyways? They claim how accurate the thing is and show a person drawing with a pencil in the air, yet most people are too baffled by the gimmick to realize your hand resting in place is far more accurate. 

        People are fools.

  • this makes me remember theremin

  • M.P.

    Great for FX for sure. 

  • Daniel Henning

    I would use it to bring in some FX into the mix. I think its a very intuitiv way, to “touch” the music and edit it. Can image to use it with Ableton 🙂

  • Wasted Youth


    The real touch is way better than just some movements in the air.

  • vzk

    hooked. Pre-ordered. Waiting. Will be a great Christmas!

  • bloodhound

    i think it would be awesome to use along turntables, put it close to control filters and dynamic effects. it could work into the “dj dance” thing, and stop all the frikkin jesus poses.

    • Wasted Youth

      Jesus poses 😀 *strike*

      Never tought about it like that 🙂

  • Swedish Studios

    Obviously this device could be utilized in the DJing realm! Launch clips, control LFOs, as well as loop clips on the fly! I want to see what I can do in Ableton with it! 

  • paulpeAk

    Love it already – cant wait to use it.
    And discover the possibilities.

  • Mfd

    ableton envelope forming would be really great, i think thats the cumbersome task on that program

  • i’ve already ordered my Leap.  just goto wait patiently now till december.  I loved the MakeyMakey suggested by Sebastien Arbogast also 

  • seen

    could be used like the d beam on the roland sp555 with filter for ex.

  • Lauti

    who cares about djing: super cyber-sex awwyeah

  • definintly gonna program this so i can scratch in the air, it would be so sick and cheezy!

    • Bastian Hertel

      maybe after airguitar, airscratching is the next big thing^^

    • jesus juice

      ohh raffi zakki you silly goose

  • Mrcarroll

    the motion control should be used to control faders while haveing two midi fighters for decks a and b

  • I think MakeyMakey is even more interesting:

    • that thing is wicked.  going to get one.  cheers 

    • I purchased a MakeyMakey recently. Can’t wait to get it in the mail. I plan on putting tiles on the dance floor associated with effects. It can possibly turn into a fucking disaster! That would be fun.

      • it’d be nice connected over/around a drum pad/skin.  if it was a traditional drum skin a percussionist could go crazy with loops and fx.  I know i already get way hot when dj’ing, so i think an fx/dance dance revolution element you’ve suggested would kill me off.  but good have fun.  my first thoughts were piano stairs, just for fun tbh.  but i’m defo ordering a unit.  cheers once again  

        • Yeah it will be a total disaster. That’s why it would only be a couple non invasive FX. I don’t ever DJ real clubs so I don’t have to worry about professionalism. Just DJ for burners, naked people and hippies. So they are more likely to enjoy that level of interaction.

    • Tat3r Totts

      Nice heads-up on Makey Makey, looks awesome – limitless possibilities!

  • already bought one last week 🙂