Update: There’s some newer Kinect hardware out there, “Kinect for Windows”. This hardware is slightly different, and doesn’t work with Synapse. Be careful when purchasing, Synapse only supports “Kinect for Xbox”. Update to the update: There appears to also be newer “Kinect for Xbox” hardware out there. Model 1414 Kinects work with Synapse, but I’m getting reports that the newer 1473 models do not work.
Synapse is an app for Mac and Windows that allows you to easily use your Kinect to control Ableton Live, Quartz Composer, Max/MSP/Jitter, and any other application that can receive OSC events. It sends joint positions and hit events via OSC, and also sends the depth image into Quartz Composer. In a way, this allows you to use your whole body as an instrument. Here’s a video with more info and a demonstration:
If you have a Kinect and just want to jump right into playing music with the example project I showed there, it’s very easy to set up, and free. Head over to the Download page.
If you’re interested in working with Synapse to create new projects, follow the links on the sidebar for instructions on how to use Synapse to interact with Ableton Live, Quartz Composer, and Max/MSP.