This video showcases a new invention from MIT Media Lab student Amit Zoran – the Chameleon Guitar:
The Chameleon Guitar is an electric guitar whose body has a separate central section that is removable. This inserted section, the soundboard, can be switched with one made of a different kind of wood, or with a different structural support system, or with one made of a different material altogether. Then, the sound generated by the electronic pickups on that board can be manipulated by a computer to produce the effect of a different size or shape of the resonating chamber.
Zoran built the first proof of concept version last summer, with a variety of removable wooden inserts. The concept worked, so he went on to build a more polished version with an easier quick-change mechanism for switching the inserts, so that a musician could easily change the sound of the instrument during the course of a concert — providing a variety of sound characteristics, but always leaving the same body, neck and frets so that the instrument always feels the same.
Ffive electronic pickups provide detailed information about the wood’s acoustic response to the vibration of the strings. This information is then processed by the computer to simulate different shapes and sizes of the resonating chamber.
“The original signal is not synthetic, it’s acoustic,” Zoran says. “Then we can simulate different shapes, or a bigger instrument.” The guitar can even be made to simulate shapes that would be impossible to build physically. “We can make a guitar the size of a mountain,” he says. Or the size of a mouse.
It’s fascinating research.
Would you play a Chameleon Guitar?
via Cybermusic on Twitter