This gadget brings a whole new meaning to rocking out on an air guitar. The Kurv Guitar, which is the brainchild of British co-founders Suran Goonatilake and Dr Mick Grierson, is a stringless virtual guitar that fits into the palms of a player’s hands. The device consists of two parts — a button board where you press chords and notes, and a sensor-packed guitar pick which recognizes strumming movements. The chords and notes generated by pressing down on the palm pad while strumming with the pick are decoded by a smartphone app and converted into either electric, bass or acoustic sounds. The wearable tech is designed to allow anyone to play and learn songs, even if they’ve never picked up a guitar before. Kurv Music’s Goonatilake explains why there are no strings attached.
Why did you decide to develop this device?
A few years ago, I was in Palo Alto in California working on using sensors for body management. At this time there was a big explosion of the movement called "quantified self movement." Essentially, people were using lots of sensors to look at body management and we were particularly interested in finger movement — and the guitar. I was 10 years old when I came to my parents to get an acoustic guitar and frankly, I found it too hard. These are the key reasons for creating the Kurv Guitar.
What advantages does the Kurv Guitar offer over conventional guitars?
In one sentence, it’s actually much easier lo learn the Kurv Guitar. Learning to play the electric guitar, for example, can take weeks, months and sometimes years to train your fingers, master rhythm and read musical notation. With the Kurv Guitar, in about 30 minutes or an hour, you can actually learn to play a simple song. I think the key thing is that the touch pad is very sensitive, so it's very easy to press and get a sound out of it.
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Can complete novices play a song?
Yes and you don’t need to be able to read music to play the Kurv Guitar — it’s very easy to learn. Indeed, we have licensed 60 popular songs, from the Beatles to Taylor Swift. We guide you through which keys you have to press to play a popular track.
What other features does this guitar offer?
The Kurv Guitar is light and portable, so you can compose, listen to music through headphones and play.
What does the future hold for these kind of musical instruments?
We think that it's a part of a new movement called "new musical expressions," so we will see quite a few other instruments coming to the market based on similar principles.
– ByDaniel Casillas