'O-Bow' Laser Violin Is Sweet Music To The Ears

James Johnson

A new laser violin designed by technology lecturer Dylan Menzies is sweet music to the ears even if it skirts the deep tradition of violin playing.

Menzies uses specialized software and highly focused lasers to translate the positioning, speed, and motion of a traditional wood carved instrument and its bow.

The laser violin technology uses an optical sensor-driven O-Bow that is enclosed inside copper with a groove for the bow.

According to Wired:

"A system that uses synthesis software to translate data sent from an optical flow sensor, which tracks the speed, motion and angle of a wooden rod in high resolution as it is moved across it. The data is used to modify music created from a hooked-up keyboard (which creates the notes and pitch), meaning a player can replicate the subtle tones of a bow gliding across strings, not just the staccato notes produced by typical orchestral keyboard effects."

Creating the sound in his new video has not been a simple process; this is the fifth prototype of the O-Bow. The technology guru says his new design features the best cylindrical casing design for his project thus far. The casing is based on a flexible configuration and indented grooves that are perfectly shaped for the bow.

Here is the laser violin design. The clip is short but pay close attention to the sound it creates with the help of an integrated keyboard for note changing:

[iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/xGEpJGnQeQI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen]

While I am personally a sucker for the traditional sounds of a beautifully crafted violin, I have to admit that the laser violin is a really cool invention. The ease of play on the device could end up offering music producers and beginner musicians easy access to the sounds of a traditional violin.

Are you wiling to give the O-Bow laser violin a shot?

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