I got a set of Aerodrums—it came in a box the size of a QWERTY keyboard. Aerodrums uses 3-D motion-capture technology to create a virtual drum set.
Aerodrums works by watching your drumming gestures and tracking four highly reflective markers on drumsticks and foot reflectors. The kit comes with protective eyewear to wear while “bathed” in the light from the included LED lamp. The lamp snaps on around the lens of a (not included) Sony™ PlayStation 3 Eye camera ($7.95 at Amazon). Depending on the included drum kit selected, you’ll get a kick drum, hi-hat, snare, side-snare and up to three toms plus crashes and ride cymbals in defined locations in the virtual space in front of you.
Playing Aerodrums is different than a real kit. You’re striking drums in mid-air with sticks that have a different balance due to their reflective tips and there is no tactile rebound as with real drumheads. Latency is low—as instant as hitting a drum pad or programming drums on a keyboard or drum machine—but this is a lot more fun. In addition to the built-in sounds, you can send CoreMIDI signals to trigger your own samples.
I’m not a drummer, but I found Aerodrums useful for programming drums, overdubbing drum fills, percussion bits or just firing sound effects. This is only the start of this wonderful nascent product, and I look forward to updates as they become available. Aerodrums retails for $199 and are available at Amazon.com.
Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com