Airsynth uses Face ID camera to play a virtual theremin

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AirSynth 2
One of the best theremin apps yet.
Photo: AirSynth

If you’ve ever seen a theremin, the spooky electronic musical instrument which can be played without physical contact, you’ll have some idea of how AirSynth works.

It uses the depth-sensing camera on iPhone X series devices to let you synthezise music simply by holding your hands in the air. Check out a demo of it below.

While this isn’t the first theremin app we’ve ever seen, AirSynth works differently to the rest. Most use the iPhone camera to approximate how close or far away the users’ hands are. By mapping this to the sound’s pitch, it can get away with something similar to the real theremin instrument. (The real instrument uses metal antennas to sense the position of hands to control frequency and volume.)

In the case of AirSynth, it uses the depth-sensing capabilities of the iPhone X to work out exactly where the users’ hands are positioned. This means that its depth control even works in the dark. There are five different “voices” to play around with, plus a fun visualization feature.

No, it’s probably not going to replace the more in-depth synth tools that are available for iOS. But if you’re looking for a fun tech demo, capable of creating some unique effects, this is the app for you!

You can download the app from the App Store here, priced $1.99.