At a recent exhibition called Resortes, visitors to Mexico City’s Digital Cultural Center walked into a large room to be confronted by… nothing. A horizontal white line line projected against a silent surface, with a pair of Leap Motion Controllers mounted on either side.

“When the audience entered the installation, they didn’t have any clue how to interact with the piece – we wanted them to figure out how to control the piece without a guide,” says Thomas Sanchez Lengeling, one of Resortes’ creators. “Most people when they enter the installation didn’t know that they could activate the sensors – so when they did, some of them jumped!”

When the installation sprang to life, people quickly discovered that they could create huge waves of light and music with hand gestures. Elastic strings built on Newtonian physics and generated by the participants’ hand movements danced frantically between a set of particle nodes, shifting in color and tones to the sound of strange, otherworldly music.

With two people at the controls, the sounds and visuals generated by each person combined to form a massive composition. After the participants withdrew their hands, the giant strings continued to reverberate, throwing off light and sound for several minutes – like the dying vibrations of a digital guitar string:

Ironically, says Thomas, despite being a touchless device, the Leap Motion Controller made the installation possible by creating the illusion of touch. “We wanted the audience to feel that they could control a string with their bare hands and manipulate the physics of the environment. The Leap Motion device helps to create different forms of expression with art and technology, and I think if we had used another device we wouldn’t have had the same interaction.”

Want to create your own technicolor light displays? You can take control into your hands with particle apps like Midnight, Beautiful Chaos, and Gravilux. Let us know your favorite Leap Motion physics experiment – tweet us @LeapMotion or jump onto our Facebook page.