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arkit augmented reality for iOS11

Augmented Reality in music making - gimmick or way of the future?  ·  Source: Zach Liebermann/Twitter

So, Augmented Reality and music making – what’s the musicians’ equivalent of the hoverboard in Back To The Future, or the swipe-in-the-air thing from Minority Report? Some developers have been looking at ways to play around with AR techniques and see what the intersection of AR with music production might be.

Here’s one of those. A developer called Zach Liebermann has used the ARKit framework on iOS11 to come up with a little tool that we think might be worth keeping tabs on. The basic idea is you move your iPad or iPhone around in the room, and record audio as you move. The device uses its sensors to place the audio it’s recorded in 3D, shown as white waveforms on the device’s screen. When you move around in the space the “tracks” are played back.

Er, what? Just take a look at the two videos below and you’ll get the idea. Zach’s a digital artist, and it’s easy to see that this might be a very interesting way of using audio for art installations. But real musicians? I get the feeling that some bright spark somewhere might come up with an ingenious way of using this in a fantastically creative way. Is this the dawn of a new age in audio production? Or just some programmer with a lot of time on his hands cooking up some ultimately useless little gimmick? I don’t know, to be honest…

Here’s another video showing how you would use iPad running this tool as a “3D playback head”, moving through the air to playback your sounds: