I'm interested in beginning performance in which the movements of my body generates MIDI to control a synthesizer.

It appears that most "motion capture" MIDI devices are very specialized and expensive.

What are some low-cost alternatives out there? (I'm willing to do a little hacking-together!) The first thing that comes to mind is strapping a bunch of WiMotes to my limbs, but I'd prefer something that weighs less and with less latency between movement and data received on the PC.


The XBox Kinect seems to be the low-cost solution these days. Kinect MIDI Controller project.

  • This is a great idea, but doesn't exactly address the OP, or does it? Is this Kinect midi setup as low-latency as an accelerometer-driven device would be? – themirror Feb 5 '13 at 19:23
  • That is going to depend on the accelerometer, the microcontroller that processes its output, and the data communication back to whatever host you are dealing with. Maybe this is a better question for EE. – ObscureRobot Feb 5 '13 at 21:42

The wiimote is essentially a bluetooth camera and (according to this video [~2:42]) can track up to four points simultaneously.

One can imagine a piece of software that recognizes the location of the four points as glyphs which can then be translated into notes or phrases.

The only thing which need be attached to the person are Infrared LEDs. One can have more than 4 LEDS attached so that points are visible if the actor was to turn around, etc.


Have you looked at Arduino Lilypad? They are the only truly wearable (as in designed for that purpose) low cost option I know of for this sort of thing.




I did this a couple years back with Wii Remotes. Lots of fun!

I ended up writing software to do it. I'll look around to see if I can find it, and will post back if I do. In the mean time, you should be able to get these up and running using GlovePie and some MIDI loopback software, such as MIDI Yoke or LoopBe.

If you don't already have a Bluetooth adapter on your computer, go get one that is compatible with the Wii Remote. I bought mine for 50 cents on Amazon awhile back. Pair the Wii Remote to your computer. Then, fire up GlovePie and use an existing script to verify that the Wii Remote is working.

Once you've done that, you can write a script (or find one already out there) for outputting MIDI. Configure your script to output to your loopback MIDI device. In your audio software, configure it to use the other end of the loopback MIDI device. Then, jump around a bit and make music.


If you own an Android wearable and an Android smartphone and a PC with DAW (digital audio workstation), then there is a free solution available. It is an app called midiHook, and it comes with a companion VST plugin for the DAW. This plots whatever the accelerometer sensor of the wearable measures, it scales the measurements in a configurable range and maps this range to 0..127 values of midi controll messages. The MIDI control messages are also configurable. The MIDI is available at the outport of the DAW.

If you need the MIDI to controll the DAW itself, you may need a windows MIDI loopback software, see Brads comment for some recommendations.

  • hi constanze, links are not considered a proper answer (that's why it's limited to 2). Can you elaborate on your use of these libraries, because it looks like a sales pitch now. – Arnoud Traa May 11 '15 at 13:51

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