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Groove on the move with the wireless Hyper Touch Guitar concept

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March 28, 2011

The Hyper Touch Guitar concept features a capacitive touchscreen neck with 24 fret positio...

The Hyper Touch Guitar concept features a capacitive touchscreen neck with 24 fret positions, and either a small touchscreen pick zone version or one where the multi-touch interface continues down into the body from the neck

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There are now hundreds of dedicated music apps available for the iPhone and iPad, but these digital devices are not musical instruments in the traditional sense. Over a year ago, designer Massimo Battaglia set about bringing the electric guitar and the multi-touch interface even closer. His Hyper Touch Guitar concept is the result. It features a capacitive touchscreen neck with 24 fret positions, and either a small touchscreen pick zone or a version where the multi-touch interface continues down into the body from the neck. The guitar will also feature wireless technology that will communicate with equipment such as amplifiers and computer systems, and allow the player full freedom of movement.

The Hyper Touch Guitar has the look of a double-edged battle axe and would no doubt find fit quite nicely with the likes of WASP or KISS. Battaglia has actually designed two versions of the HTG – a basic model with a small touchscreen and a capacitive fingerboard, and an EVO model that's completely multi-touch and has a carbon fiber body. The designer told Gizmag that the touchscreen interface on the EVO could be used to "change any guitar parameter: tuning, number of frets, number of strings, sound effects."

About the same size as a conventional stringed guitar, players would be able to use HTG's ...

The 24 frets shown in the renders have a very similar appearance to those on the neck of the Kitara, but being displayed on a capacitive, flat surface are kind of like a fretless version of the production digital guitar from Misa Digital. The pick zone would be raised above the body and there would also be a tremelo arm – although whether this has been included for purely aesthetic purposes or would actually serve to alter the sound in some way is not clear.

The body of the instrument would contain volume and power switches, a standard guitar jack and possibly MIDI or USB interfaces, but it would also have wireless technology built in. This would allow the player to communicate with equipment such as amplifiers, studio boards or computer systems without any bothersome cables limiting freedom of movement. Power for the instrument would be provided by some sort of high-capacity battery technology to allow for many hours of use.

Although moving the guitar into the digital age does seem to be a natural evolutionary advancement, Battaglia says that he didn't design the Hyper Touch Guitar to replace the traditional favorite. "First there was the pencil, then the typewriter and then the computer... but the pencil is still there," he explained. "This musical instrument is completely new, with new expressive possibilities."

The pick zone would be raised above the body and there would also be a tremelo arm

Even though the Hyper Touch Guitar is a concept for future development, it was designed with current technologies in mind. Battaglia told us that he has no doubt that it could be put into production with only some minor modifications, but added "I do not have the financial resources to create a prototype with a technology so sophisticated."

Even though I've been playing electric guitar for more years than I care to admit, I am quite excited by this brave new digital world that's opening up before us – confirmation (if any were needed) that guitar innovation continues to thrive.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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2 Comments

As there are no strings or tactile frets, as a guitarist, I feel this might be quite tricky to play.Chords would be difficult to get in pitch Also, I wonder how the individual notes are played on the right hand. Presumably, by touching the screen. It is certainly an interesting concept, and I presume, the designer is a guitarist.

The body appears to be carbon fibre, but there is no acoustic requirement, so ordinary plastic would suffice, or of course wood. it is rather strange to see volume and tone knobs, instead of a touch screen simulation with visible readouts.

I have designed various guitars, but nothing so radical as this. I do possess a MIDI guitar, which allows you to access the sounds of any synthesiser or keyboard. It has normal strings and frets, and a special pickup detects what notes are being played on, which strings; how loudly, and for how long. You still have the normal feel of a guitar. All you need to do is to adapt your playing to whatever instrument you are emulating through the sound module.

It is amazing to hear, but surprisingly, nobody takes any notice of the fact that a guitar is sounding like a grand piano example. Only me!

windykites1
29th March, 2011 @ 06:24 am PDT

If it didn't cost a gazillion dollars, I'd like this or the Kitara as I've tried to learn to play guitar many times without success.

I've been a keyboard player and just couldn't wrap my mind around the spacial requirements of guitar playing, also my fingertips are very sensitive and the practice requirements to build callus on them has always been beyond me.

Tom Phoghat Sobieski
27th April, 2011 @ 08:11 am PDT
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