Toshio Iwai, the designer of beloved Nintendo DS music game Electroplankton, has been showing a prototype of his jaw-dropping Tenori-On instrument since 2005. Last week, Yamaha announced plans to turn this Star Trek-worthy digital sound toy into an actual shipping product, retailing with an estimated price tag of around $1,000. For most consumers, that is an insane price for a beautiful sound toy, but electronic musicians and artists are falling all over themselves for this thing. The Tenori-On is a touch screen grid of white LEDs that allows you to compose music by activating little squares that trigger built-in sounds or samples loaded off a flash memory card. It has a built-in speaker, headphone output, and MIDI connections for other music gear. You really have to see this in action to appreciate it. There's a great video of the device on YouTube and a more in-depth one at Sonicstate. For now, I'll just keep honing my touch-screen music skills on Nintendo's ElectroPlankton.
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