Playing air guitar will never be the same again; the Kurv 'stringless' guitar lets you learn and play songs using touch, motion and gestures. Matthew Stock reports.
Air guitar -- few of us have resisted the urge to play it at some point in our lives. But thanks to this new wearable device, the air guitar just became a real musical instrument. The Kurv consists of a button pad that fits neatly into the player's palm and an oversized sensor-packed guitar pick that recognises strumming movements. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JACK FULLER, MUSIC LEAD, KURV , SAYING: "Press down on the chord to select it, and then take the pick and strum, like so, to play the sound." UPSOT The stringless guitar combines research from Goldsmiths, University of London and the University of Sussex. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SURAN GOONATILAKE, KURV CO-FOUNDER, SAYING: "What we've done is take a whole bunch of different sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, pressure sensitive stuff; and then combine that with a mobile phone which has the computational power to actually drive real-time music synthesis. And then combined that with another bunch of technologies, in this case machine learning, to really understand your gestures." The years of practice -- not to mention blisters -- needed to play the guitar proficiently mean many people quickly give up. But the Kurv allows anyone to learn the basics in minutes. Student Millie has never picked up a real guitar, but within five minutes gave a passable rendition of Deep Purple's famous 'Smoke on the Water' riff. UPSOT (SOUNDBITE) (English) MILLIE, STUDENT, SAYING: "I didn't think I could do it, but today I believe I can, so yeah - it's great!" With the full chromatic scale, the team says Kurv could be a useful tool for guitarists and musicians. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JACK FULLER, MUSIC LEAD, KURV , SAYING: "So we mapped out the entire guitar and bass fretboard, and we did acoustic and electric guitar. And we did single notes, and the total I think came to well over a thousand samples. So there's a huge amount of possibility." Accomplished guitarists may need a bit more convincing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED PASSERBY, SAYING: "I kind of miss the wood. The wood is a very important part of it. But I'm sure it's going to be a good toy for many kids." Kurv Guitar recently launched on Kickstarter. The patent-pending prototype is still being tested and perfected. But the makers hope early adopters will take the technology to new levels... and give the air guitar the sound it's been looking for.