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Paul Ridden

Electronics

Simple MIDI synth squeezed into a USB plug

A few months after creating what was claimed to be the world's smallest MIDI synthesizer, which was smaller than the capsule at the end of a 5-pin DIN cable, a self-confessed MIDI lover and prolific electronics tinkerer has managed to cram a tone generating circuit into the black plastic frame inside a USB plug.Read More

Music

Smart guitar previews connected hybrid future

For the most part, going on a guitar safari today is much like it was 40 or 50 years ago. The same body shapes occupy prime retail space, the same brands seem to demand the most attention from shop floor noodlers and the same technology rules the roost. Dig a little deeper and you'll not only see modern tech creeping into familiar-looking instruments, but you may also spot axes that embrace the brave new digital world. The Sensus guitar is said to be "a unique mix of acoustic tradition and state of the art technology," with the folks behind it going so far as to claim that it's the world's first smart guitar.Read More

Aircraft Feature

These boots were made for flying: A chat with France's very own jet-powered fly boy, Franky Zapata

On the last day of April we joined Zapata Racing in the south of France to witness an attempt to remain aloft for more than 280 meters and snatch the "farthest flight by hoverboard" record from Alexandru Duru. That record was pulverized when the Flyboard Air covered over 2 km in around seven minutes. We managed to grab a few words with a jubilant but quite exhausted Franky Zapata after his record-breaking flight.Read More

Music

Stunning keyboard controller wouldn't look too out of place on the back of a Carrera

The MPiano from Austria's Alpha Pianos is an elegant, futuristic concept study that's actually heading for production. The 88-key digital controller was developed in partnership with the Porsche Design Studio and features adjustable keyboard action so that musicians can choose precisely how the device feels to play, from the solid, weighty keys of a concert grand to a light and springy tabletop synth.Read More

Aircraft

Franky Zapata zooms past farthest hoverboard flight record

A couple of weeks go we revealed the Flyboard Air, jet-ski champion Frank Zapata's latest attempt to launch himself skyward. The Air ditches the jet ski, the hose and the tether of the original Flyboard in favor of a jet-powered board that's reportedly capable of a potential top ground speed of 150 km/h. And now it has carried Zapata into the record books for the farthest flight by hoverboard, knocking Alexandru Duru off his perch by some considerable margin.Read More

Music

Thunderous guitar pickup gets an Ego boost

Back in 2014, guitarist Andy Alt nailed a successful Kickstarter to fund the production of a box-shaped pickup that's actually home to a single coil humbucker and a two pole bottom feeder pickup to give a guitar some extra low end wallop. It was only a matter of time before A Little Thunder made its way into a signature guitar, and thanks to a partnership with Italy's Marconi Lab custom shop, that guitar comes in the shape of the eye-catching Ego Thunder.Read More

Music

Old computer storage tech gets a job driving novel guitar stomp

Having a guitar sound repeat once or more can be a powerful playing weapon, and has been used to great, ahem, effect by axe gods like Brian May and Jimmy Page for a good many years. Before digital stomps wrapped the effect up in a pedalboard-friendly box, players would gun for looped tape machines like the Echoplex and Space Echo. Now technicians from a German music company have come up with an oddball analog echo effects unit that generates the delay effect using a 3.5-inch floppy disc.Read More

Resolution and quality bump for RasPi camera

The 5 megapixel OmniVision camera sensor at the heart of the Raspberry Pi camera module released in 2013 was discontinued toward the end of the following year. Makers have been able to continue including camera boards in their projects though, thanks to some nifty stockpiling by retailers. But supplies are now running low, so the Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced an 8-megapixel successor.Read More

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