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Electronic violin turns laser signals into music

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Posted March 22, 2013
Gets you into the groove (Image: Dylan Menzies)

Gets you into the groove (Image: Dylan Menzies)

THE sound of a violin bow across strings can be exquisite. But bowing well is hard to master. Now that smooth grace is encapsulated in a new kind of electronic instrument.

Developed by Dylan Menzies at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK, the O-Bow uses optical sensors to track the movement of a real violin bow across a groove in a metal instrument. The sensor detects the bow’s angle and speed to drive the production of digital music in a connected computer. Notes are created using a separate keyboard.

The instrument’s body is a smooth copper cylinder and the groove holding the sensors is shaped to ensure that the bow doesn’t skid off. It is easier to play than a real violin because the musician does not have to moderate the downward pressure of the bow onto the string, one of the trickiest elements of playing a violin.

Read more at: NewScientist.com

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