December 1, 2005 As computers learn to enhance and augment every human endeavour, it was only a matter of time before talentless, uncoordinated individuals such as your humble writer could indulge their musical ambitions and produce sounds to match those of their dreams - and the Virtual Air Guitar project is well on the way to setting would-be musicians free, without the need for even an instrument. Playing the Virtual Air Guitar is simple. You pull on a pair of orange gloves (for the image tracking to recognise what your hands are doing), and strum a big chord and that's exactly what happens - you hear a power chord with punchy distortion. Now move your left hand along the imaginary neck and strum again - it's a different chord. You can't play any "wrong" chords here - they have been pre-selected for you. When you're ready, press the switch pedal to change from chord mode to solo mode and you suddenly have a pentatonic minor scale on the three top strings, with fret slides and vibrato. Play hard enough with feeling, and you start getting screaming distortions. It's easy enough that you can pick it up in ten seconds, but especially the solo mode has just enough freedom for every solo to be different. You don't really need to know anything about guitar solos, except for how rock guitarists perform on stage. And there's a virtual drum kit under development too.
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