“Hand claps are a relatively primitive conveyor of sonic information, yet they are widely applied for different purposes.”
Their paper: INFERRING THE HAND CONFIGURATION FROM HAND CLAPPING SOUNDS (published in Proc. of the 11th Int. Conference on Digital Audio Effects (DAFx-08), Espoo, Finland, September 1-4, 2008) describes their experiments in detail.
Using a combination of FFT filtering and the Steiglitz-McBride algorithm on 40 recordings of claps (two clappers, 20 claps each), the team have discovered eight distinct classes of clap. Named as: P1, P2, P3, A1, A2, A3, A1+ and A1- The results showing too that “… it is possible to make inference of the hand configuration of a clapper given the resulting sound.“
The paper also points to the possibility of more-advanced clap analysis techniques that may be of interest to security researchers – but which could perhaps be of concern to privacy-rights groups. Clapper Recognition. In the future, might it be possible to electronically identify the clap-signature of a particular individual embedded within a crowd of clappers? “The results also suggest that the claps of individual clappers may incorporate systematic differences from other people’s claps …” say the research team.
BONUS: The Helsinki University of Technology Laboratory of Acoustics and Audio Signal Processing has created a software package called ClaPD – one of the very few, perhaps the only, cross-platform freeware fake-applause generation software. A video describing the software can be viewed (and heard) here (.wmv format)
ClaPD can be downloaded here: (Windows, Linux and OSX 10.5)