Saturday, November 18, 2006

A guitar no strings attached

It was all over the newspapers and the internet news sites. Just pick up a special T-shirt, put it on and start playing your top songs as if you had a guitar in your hands. Sensors in the textile analyse the arm movements and translate these in music. In this way people can easily play the instrument, even if they do not have a musical background, according to the scientists. It is a nice gadget and it can train you at least in rhythm, harmony and pure notes.

The development of a virtual air guitar is a hot subject. Before the T-shirt, two Finnish entries to the Europrix 2005 were nominated and one was in fact the overall award winner. The Guitar Shred Show was the overall Europrix 2006 winner and the Virtual Air Guitar was nominated in the category Content Tools and Interface Design.

The Guitar Shred Show was produced by Liina Toiviainen and Mika Tyyskä of the Lahti Polytechnic Institute of Design. In Asloka (Finland). The site centres around Mr Fastfinger, who reveals the arts and secrets of rock guitar in the animated guitar school. The user can simply jam on the keyboard of the PC, or embark on their journey to be a guitar God by learning from the music tablature provided. Each keyboard key activates a different guitar riff or solo which players can link together in a sequence to create soring guitar solos and improvisations. After the tutorial, the user can help Mr. Fastfinger defeat his antagonist in a musical duel and then celebrate in their own jamming session. The Guitar Shred Show combines traditional storytelling with modern interactive technologies to take the player into guitar heaven.

The Virtual Air Guitar (Soiva Ilmakitara) was produced by Aki Kanerva, Juha Laitinen and Teemu Mäki-Patola of the Helsinki University of Technology at Espoo (Finland). The Virtual Air Guitar offers an inspiring way to experience music and get the rock star feeling within seconds. It is an entertainment device that users can learn to play instantly. No strings, no musical skills are required. It is literally an invisible instrument played in the air. Participants just need to wear orange gloves or wristbands. Having adjusted the distance between the hands with the help of PC you are ready to play a note. Heavy rock sounds are created when the user plays faster, triggering an effect which plucks several strings simultaneously. Besides being a nominee of the Europrix 2006, the producers were invited to Amsterdam several times. On the web there are a few movies of the virtual guitar available.

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Blog Posting Number: 574

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