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Paul Ridden

Urban Transport

Electric rollerblades go off the beaten track

There are a good many ways to get from the train station to work in motor-assisted style, including folding bikes or scooters and one wheelers or skateboards, but last mile transport choices are not so plentiful if your journey includes zipping through dirt tracks and forest trails. Poland's Jack Skopinski, the force behind the EV4 tilting electric quad we covered last year, has come up with a stand-up contender for the off-road-with-ease crown – some electric off-road rollers with rubber tracks.Read More

Modern take on rock classic takes flight

Back in January, 660 Guitars made a company and product debut at California's Winter NAMM Show with the aluminum-bodied Patriot guitar. Now the Texan guitar builders have officially added a thoroughly modern version of Gibson's iconic Flying V to the American-made guitar line. Meet the Aviator AV27.Read More

Music

Slide on chord shaper will have you strumming in minutes

Learning to play guitar like an axe god isn't easy. It takes time and dedication and many, many hours of study. Hardly surprising, then, that many would-be noodlers give up even before the first calluses start to form. We've been introduced to a good many teaching aids over the years, including those which light up the fretboard, others that transform learning into addictive games and even complicated keyboard-like overlays. University of Texas graduate Alex Levine says that his Guitar Now system will have students playing three major chords in minutes, allowing players to strum along to hundreds of songs by the likes of Taylor Swift, The Beatles and the Foo Fighters in no time.Read More

Music

Loopa lets you sing to yourself

Recording vocals and then replaying them in a loop to sing over the top of can involve a complicated mix of hardware and software, and some technical know-how to bring them seamlessly together. UK-based Sonuus is looking to put loop control in a singer's hands. The Loopa is billed as the world's first microphone that puts loop and overdub controls on the mic itself.Read More

Wearables

Wireless earphones put a microphone in your ear

Toward the end of last year, the first truly wireless earphones became available for consumers to buy and plug in. We were sent a pair of Earins to review and were impressed by both performance and build quality, though found them a little on the quiet side. Taking calls while using them was also a bit of a hassle, as they didn't feature a built-in microphone. The RippleBuds project supports hands-free calling with the inclusion of an in-ear microphone, while also promising increased play time.Read More

Music

MIDI melody maker strikes a crowd-pleasing chord

Even the most creative forces can sometimes feel like the muse has taken an extended vacation, abandoning musicians to try and break out of melodic comfort zones or formulaic progressions on their own. A task made even more difficult if grasping music theory is still on the to-do list. The KordBot, which is in the closing stages of a successful funding campaign on Kickstarter, has been developed as both a digital music creation assistant and a music teacher, combining a MIDI chord generator, arpeggiator and step sequencer in a single unit.Read More

Home Entertainment Review

Review: Miyo DAC/amp turns up the heat on handy hi-res music listening

Just over a year ago, a bunch of audio nerds launched a Kickstarter to get a new digital-to-analog converter and headphone amp into the hands of fellow high resolution music lovers. The Colorado startup promised backers that the palm-friendly Miyo would deliver the same kind of audio quality and sonic detail found in a professional recording studio. The campaign proved successful and the aluminum brick has since started shipping to consumers. We've spent the last few weeks rocking out with this useful audio toolbox, while also feeling the warmth radiating from the device itself.Read More

Robotics

Scorpion Hexapod has a sting in its tail

Students from Ghent University in Belgium have developed a six-legged floor crawler that's sure to leave its mark on those it comes into contact with. The Scorpion Hexapod, which wouldn't look too out of place in the robotic menagerie of German automation technology company Festo, fires its stinger at the hand of anyone covering its eyes, leaving a red mark as a reminder of the encounter.Read More

Music

Falling marbles make monstrous machine sing

Artist Martin Molin has spent the last 14 months designing and hand-building the Musical Marble Machine, a huge loom- or printing press-like contraption made from birch ply that makes use of 2,000 metal balls to play a tune. The musician-powered machine drops marbles onto the instrument surface, notes sound and the orbs are collected and re-used again. Read on to see this captivating machine in action.Read More

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