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Paul Ridden

Music

Wooden toy piano given polyphonic synth overhaul

If, like me, you grew up watching Charlie Brown cartoons on TV, then you may have also got your very first taste of classical music from the virtuoso hands of a certain blond-haired, Beethoven-obsessed kid hunched awkwardly over a toy piano. Though said toy piano has often been played far beyond its limited range, imagine the kind of sonic wonders Schroeder could perform if he sat down in front of Liam Lacey's Vintage Toy Synthesizer.Read More

Music

Digital guitar makes striking the right chord as easy as pushing a button

Learning to play guitar is tough. And until you've got some mighty fine calluses to show off, it can be quite painful too. Though there's no substitute for years of sustained practice, a number of devices have popped up over the years that promise to get you up and running quickly and easily. The MI guitar is a little different. Its makers are not promising a shortcut to real guitar wizardry, they simply say that you'll be strumming along to your favorite tunes in minutes.Read More

Computers

Thunderbolt SSDs satisfy the need for speed

Though high capacity storage is an important consideration for broadcast professionals recording content to feed the UHD televisions now taking pride of place in our living rooms, just as important is how fast media can be moved around on location. And with 8K just around the corner, lightning fast is now the name of the game. Combining Thunderbolt 3 and the latest PCIe SSD technologies results in face-melting data throughput speeds – meet the new solid state drives from Sonnet and Akitio.Read More

Computers

Meeting notes live streamed to remote workers from any whiteboard

For a good many years, the conference room whiteboard has been the focal point for sharing ideas, plans and strategies in team meetings. In today's connected business world, team members could be spread out all over the globe, though, making meetings in the flesh a little impractical. Digitized whiteboards like the Smart Kapp can capture all the scribbling action and send it to the smartphones of remote team members in real-time, but if your collaborative jotting pad takes up a whole boardroom wall then finding a smart whiteboard to take its place could prove expensive. The Kaptivo system can be installed above any dry-erase whiteboard up to 6 x 4 ft (1.8 x 1.2 m) in size, doesn't require note-makers to use special pens and captures and cleans up what's on the board before zipping it over to connected team members in real-time.Read More

Music

Modular guitars cater to the constantly-changing player

Building a guitar to satisfy the ever-evolving needs of all players would seem an impossible task. Metal axemen have monumentally different requirements to country twangers, Strat-lovers seek a different tone to humbuckers, and electric git-fiddlers go shopping with a different wants list than acoustic pickers. Having said that, the 20:14 range of guitars from Barcelona's Aclam Guitars does seem to tick a lot of customization and personalization boxes.Read More

Music Review

Review: Wireless Trym floor stomp tweaking with an Aero controller

Back in 2014, Norway's Aalberg Audio hit Indiegogo with the Ekko and Aero, a digital delay stomp for guitar and the means to change its parameters without having to crouch down during a song and twist away at its control knobs. Though the crowdfunding effort proved unsuccessful, the company forged ahead with production anyway and released the novel double act last year. More effects pedals have since been added to the range, including the Trym tremolo unit that Gizmag has spent the last few weeks wirelessly tweaking on-the-fly with the Aero Bluetooth controller.Read More

Music

Yamaha acoustics bring out rich tones in dry-sounding rooms

As many pickers will tell you, playing an acoustic guitar in some rooms, like a lounge or bedroom, can result in rather lifeless and dry tones fighting for air. Yamaha is looking to inject some concert hall warmth and vitality into such performances by taking a technology originally developed for its acoustic pianos and installing it in a new range of acoustic guitars. Its TransAcoustic guitars add reverb and chorus effects to the sound coming from the instruments themselves without having to add in external effects or rely on microphones or amplification.Read More

3D Printing

Cocooning caterpillars inspire new 3D printer design

As with its SmartBird, BionicKangaroo and robotic ants, Festo's Bionic Learning Network has once again looked to the natural world for inspiration during the development of a new 3D printing solution. Rather than gradually forming an object layer by layer like a desktop extruder, the 3D Cocooner works more like a sophisticated robotic version of a CreoPop 3D printing pen, hardening the printed material with UV light as the structure is formed. Objects are created in a similar fashion to a spider spinning its web or a caterpillar making its cocoon, resulting in complex, free-standing, three-dimensional lattice structures.Read More

Robotics

Flying gripper sphere picks up and drops off on its own

Ahead of this month's Hannover Messe trade show in Germany, Festo's Bionic Learning Network has today previewed a new helium-filled flyer that merges two previous projects into a single future concept. The FreeMotionHandling project combines the eMotionSphere from 2 years ago and last year's FlexShapeGripper for an autonomous gripping sphere that's able to take hold of an object, pick it up and fly it to another location for drop off.Read More

Sony's got videography highs and lows covered

Said to be the smallest camera in Sony's full-frame line-up, the upcoming UMC-S3C video camera combines 4K resolution video recording prowess with the highest low-light sensitivity in its class. The lightweight box is compatible with E-mount lenses and eliminates the need for network cabling for extended mobile use.Read More

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