Have you ever wanted to conduct an orchestra? Okay, probably not — or at least, not that you'd admit. But if the idea of waving your arms around in private to the tune of an AI-powered symphony tickles your fancy (and how could it not), Google's latest Semi-Conductor browser experiment could be your literal jam.
It works simply enough: Fire up the experiment in a browser, give it access to your webcam, stand far enough back that your outstretched arms fit in the frame, and start conducting (or, in my case, flailing). The experiment does provide instructions beforehand for when and how to swing your arms about for more precise controls.
So far as I can tell, it only lets you play the one song, the first movement of Mozart's K 525 Serenade No. 13 "Eine kleine Nachtmusik," which should be immediately familiar to anyone after the first few seconds.
I had a bit of difficulty producing anything that sounded consistently like actual music, but I'm sure that's entirely due to my own ignorance in how conducting an orchestra is supposed to work. If you do more than swing about trying to approximate the tutorial animations, you'll probably do fine.
Even if your musical skills are as mediocre as mine, it's still interesting from a more technical perspective. You can see and experience firsthand how the experiment uses machine learning to track and map your movement, ostensibly controlling hundreds of audio files for the various instruments of the stringed ensemble. Even if it comes out terribly, a whole lot of science went into those awful sounds.