A trio of Australian musicians is making PowerBook music using a system on the surface even easier than GarageBand – simply by using their hands.

The aural experimenters use sensors strapped to their fingers to generate sounds through a network of two PowerBooks. The three consist of Australian National University computer music lecturer Dr Alistair Riddell, freelance programmer Simon Burton and Web audio analyst Somaya Langley: they make music as Hypersense Complex.

Essentially, the musicians load the Macs up with samples, and then set these to respond to certain hand-based gestures. "In one composition, moving the thumb to bend its sensor will cycle through available samples. Bending the index finger, or the channel control finger, determines which speaker will play the sound (the group uses about eight speakers).

"The middle finger allows the user to change the start position of a sample, while the fourth finger can trigger a loop," reports LinuxWorld.

Data from the sensors is sent to a microcontroller that's carried on the performer's back. It's then transferred to a PowerBook using USB. That notebook analyses the data and issues sound controls to a second PowerBook, which contains and plays the group's samples.

Dr Riddell said: "I've always been involved in music technology, and felt I needed to move from direct computer-based music and into performance."