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Instrument

DrumPants, the wireless device that converts your pants into a wearable MIDI controller and music sequencer, can now bring a different kind of music to the ears of those around you. Its creators have recently started a beta test program that uses DrumPants triggers (sensor strips that wirelessly connect to a control box) to control lights and doors and to give a voice to those who have none. People with injuries or disorders that limit their ability to speak can tap the trigger on their body or wheelchair to activate an app that reads out loud any customizable statements or text messages, thereby enabling them to communicate more effectively with others.

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A team of ESO astronomers working from the La Silla Observatory, Chile, has detected the first direct reflection of light from an exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star. The exoplanet, 51 Pegasi b, is what is known as a hot Jupiter, a prevalent form of gas giant that sits much closer to its parent star than our own Jovian neighbor. Read More
The Jambé takes bits of electronic drums, hand bangers and finger tappers and mashes them all up into one traditional-looking percussive instrument. Its makers say that a special combination of materials and sensors allow it to read every playing nuance, transforming the mighty wallop of a drum stick into thunderous sounds or a gentle tinkle from light finger taps with the help of an iPad or iPhone processing brain. Read More
Engineers and designers from the Yamaha Corporation and the Yamaha Motor Company have changed places for a rather special project called Ah A May (that's Yamaha backwards). Musical instrument creators have been tasked with producing motorcycle and bicycle prototypes, while folks from the motorcycle design house were let loose on a pair of percussion instruments. Let's have a look at the latter. Read More
Artiphon's Instrument 1 has changed significantly since we last saw it back in February 2014. The latest, retail-ready version of the product is more widely compatible and features a new design with a more compact form factor. The company has headed to Kickstarter to fund the latest incarnation of the ambitious multi-instrument, and it's already surpassed its funding goal. Read More
There's something pretty fulfilling about nailing those floating, colorful notes in Guitar Hero, a feeling that a company named Incident adapted to a more lifelike guitar in 2012 to pretty good effect. The firm has rebranded itself as Opho and is now singing a slightly different tune, launching a LED-lit keyboard based on the same, super-addictive learning principle. Read More
A team of MIT acousticians and fluid dynamicists have teamed up with Bostonian violin makers to meticulously analyze hundreds of instruments from the Cremonese period, considered the golden age of violin making. The findings not only reveal key design features, but also shed light on whether the development of the instruments was deliberate, or simply a product of human error. Read More

Sweden's Teenage Engineering, best known for its versatile but pricey OP-1 synthesizer (which starts at US$849.00), has unveiled a line of three new synths dubbed Pocket Operator. The pocketable instruments will set you back just $59 when they launch this week. Read More

It's been another strong year for instrument innovation, making the task of choosing a top five quite a challenge. Though many excellent examples of envelope pushing have popped up on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo during 2014, including the Hammer Jammer and Aalberg's Ekko and Aero, we allowed those to fall gracefully to the cutting room floor in favor of tech that's available now. Join Gizmag as we take a look back at some of the top groove gadgets of the last 12 months. Read More
So what do you do if your solo performance set list includes compositions featuring parts for electric guitar, banjo and Dobro? You can either try to simplify the arrangement or attempt some exhausting quick change wizardry mid-song. When accomplished string picker Bow Thayer couldn't find an instrument that catered for finger-pickin' and steel slidin' and banjo rollin' all in one place, he designed his own. Meet the Bojotar. Read More
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