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Artiphon’s Minibeats AR app creates music from movement and gestures

Artiphon, the company behind the Orba handheld synth and MIDI controller, launched a new AR music creation app today that you don’t need a musical background to enjoy. Minibeats for iOS uses gestures, dance moves and facial expressions to craft songs played on 12 virtual instruments with colorful visual effects.

You could view the Minibeats app as a phone camera equivalent to Artiphon’s music-creation hardware. Here, instead of tapping touchpads on top of an orb-like device, the app lets you wave your hands, smile, frown and bust a move; the camera will capture your gestures and turn them into corresponding music.

The app is an extension of the company’s mission to make music creation a fun and simple activity that anyone can do. “With an intuitive interface and zero learning curve, Minibeats allows you to make music in innovative ways using simple gestures,” Artiphon’s announcement reads. “Dance to the beat as Minibeats tracks your movements and mixes the music. Wave your hands to draw across the sky with sparkles, lasers, and ripples. And even play music by smiling and frowning as Minibeats detects your emotions and scores it with a mood that matches the moment.”

A woman wearing a red sweater in an apartment with brick walls points at virtual (AR) objects on the floor in front of her while holding a phone in AR view.
The app taps into the Snapchat CameraKit SDK, which Artiphon already used in custom lenses it launched earlier this year in collaboration with electronic artists San Holo and LP Giobbi. “The iOS app will take this idea even further with more music to choose from and even more exciting ways to play it,” the launch video below states.

Although the app is tailored for simplicity, it provides hint videos to show you the ropes and learn the subtler details of AR music creation. Additionally, it includes “dozens” of visual effects corresponding to your gestures and sounds. And, of course, the app makes it easy to share your creations, letting you download your makeshift music video to your iOS Photos library or share with friends through text, email or social apps.