You can find a lot of industry-changing tech at SXSW, but sometimes you'll run across a piece of tech that's just plain fun. Case in point: Sony's Motion Sonic project. Using what appears to be a simple bracelet, the company has created a wearable that transforms your body into a musical instrument.
At first glance, the prototype looks like something you'd find in a Hot Topic with its bulky gray band and metallic studs. But beneath the questionable fashion aesthetic is a bunch of rock-solid tech including three microphones and a 6-axis sensor, which is used to record your arm's various movements and angles. Once it's calculated that data, it uses it to manipulate audio based on your movements.
I got to play around with five sound modes, each more fun than the next. The first mode punctuated my poor punching form with sweet punching effects similar to what you'd hear in a Kung-Fu movie or in a good fighting game. Another created futuristic robot sounds based on how I moved my arm. Instead of using fluid movements, I could only create sound when I positioned my arm in sharp, precise angles.
The next effect relied on more fluid movements, such as making a wave motion. The result was a sort of auto-tune effect. I soon discovered that rotating my wrist in a certain way would stop the music, allowing me to create my own unique mix.
As much fun as I had with Motion Sonic, I was disappointed to learn that the bracelet can't make music on its own due to a lack of speakers. Instead, the device has to be connected to a smartphone, tablet or Bluetooth speaker. However, this is still a concept product and if Sony decides to bring it to the consumer market in the future, perhaps it'll find a way to make the band work independent of any accompanying device. Either way, it's a groovy way to play with music.
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