The Tetris theme, it can't be denied, is one of the best video game musical tracks of all time. It was nicked unashamedly from a Russian folk tune called "Korobeiniki," and it gets stuck in your head like an icepick.
Of course, we've heard a million variations. But YouTube user Smooth McGroove -- a former music teacher who quit to make a capella covers of video game music full time -- has taken it on and made possibly the best thing September will have to offer. … Read more
I've always wanted to have my very own theme song, like a hero in a movie. Now, I do. I just used IDNAtity, an iOS app that mixes a little science with art. It takes information about your genetic makeup, assigns you a genetic code, and then translates that code into musical notes to form a song.
You start by uploading a photo of yourself into the app. Then, you answer a few questions about your hair color, eye color, and whether you have dimples (I don't) and can roll your tongue (I can't). The app does the rest, creating a song you can listen to and share.… Read more
While our gadgets get better all the time (faster, smaller, more storage and functions), the beloved old gadgets we were so proud of, and spent so much time with, languish in basements and garages and attics -- gone, yet never forgotten.
If you have a bit of electrical know-how, though, you can give them a new lease on life, as Glasgow-based artist and filmmaker James Houston did. He rigged together a 1988 Sega Mega Drive, a 1982 Commodore 64, and a bunch of old floppy and hard drives to play music, controlled live via MIDI.
"Big Data" is a business buzz phrase used to describe mass amounts of information. It's also an electronic-music duo that enjoys playing with the crossover between music and technology. The band's latest single, "Dangerous," comes with an interactive music video that customizes itself based on your Facebook profile.
First, you have to allow access to your profile by clicking the big "connect with Facebook to play video" button on the Facehawk site and agreeing to let it gather your data. It won't post to your wall without permission.… Read more
We really love the theremin. Its strange, synthetic, alien sound was miles ahead of its time. Invented in the 1920s by Russian Léon Theremin, well before digital synthesizers were born, it's the only musical instrument in the world that can be played without physical contact from the player.
It consists of two antennas attached to a device, inside of which a system of vacuum tubes, oscillators, coils, and wires creates an electromagnetic field around the antennas. When the player's hands enter this field, sound is produced, with one antenna controlling the pitch and the other controlling the volume.
Enter the Matryomin -- a one-handed theremin invented in 2003 by 46-year-old Japanese theremin player Masami Takeuchi. For some reason, he's packed it all inside a matryoshka doll. It still counts as a theremin, though, which means that when Takeuchi's company Mandarin Electron put together an ensemble of 272 Matryomin players (plus a conductor) on July 20, they managed to score a Guinness World Record for the world's largest theremin ensemble. … Read more
Congrats to Sheraz T. of New York, N.Y., for winning a bag of Comic-Con swag in last week's giveaway (be sure to catch part 2 of our Comic-Con freebie-fest next Friday, August 9). This week we're giving away a Boombotix Boombot Rex ultraportable speaker.
We featured one of these cute little water-resistant gadgets in a giveaway earlier this year, but this one's a bit different. It's part of a limited run of Rexes (Rexi?) that's benefiting the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund. Boombotix plans to donate 20 percent of revenues from the product to the nonprofit, which helps injured bike messengers. … Read more
In the vision of BioBeats CEO Nadeem Kassam, medical research shouldn't be restricted to a lab. Rather, it should be something that takes place in real time around the world, using readily available technology like smartphones -- and that gets participants involved through entertainment.
That's one of the ideas behind this self-described "big-data mobile-health company," which announced a $650,000 funding round Thursday, with investors as diverse as rapper-turned-film-star Will Smith and mobile software firm Eniac Ventures. … Read more
The Velodyne vPulse is one of the best pair of $99 headphones I've ever listened to on the NYC subway, but it's not one I use at home or in any quiet space. Why's that?
The vPulse's overly generous bass turns me off at home, but it sounds perfectly balanced on trains, buses, cars, or planes. What those modes of transportation all have in common is lots of low-frequency rumble, and the vPulse's pumped up bass masks some of that noise. Headphones with more accurate bass response sound fine at home, but woefully bass shy on the go.
Worse yet, the very low frequency rumble on trains, buses, and so on can't be nullified by noise-canceling or noise-isolating headphones because those noises are felt through your entire body, not just heard through your ears. Bassy headphones may not be the perfect solution to the problem, but they can be surprisingly effective. … Read more