Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Air Guitar Hero Cranks It to 11

The 2008 Consumer Electronics Show wraps up today. As one might imagine, the show’s replete with the coolest and most dubious of technology for the “Entertain Me!” masses. This Air Guitar Hero offering from “Nitrous Roxide” is a fine example of the dubious.

Here’s the explanation of the technology in a nutshell:

Here’s another demonstration. Why, oh, why did he opt for van Halen instead of Deep Purple?

I’m a mere bio-idiot, so I’m hoping Doc Acoustically-Enhanced-Jim will weigh in on this deliciously geeky device. I’ll just say that Nitrous Roxide needs a more believable wig.

I can’t let CES 2008 go without the obligatory (and winceworthy) video clip of Bill Gates’ last full day of work at Microsoft.

Comments

  1. #1 Dennis
    January 10, 2008

    As an former Guitar Hero (and now avid Rock Band) player, I have to say: this is by far the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. Ever. And I’ve been to church. More than once.

  2. #2 JimFiore
    January 10, 2008

    Effing terrible. That air guitar thing has to be the dumbest, worst product I have seen in ages. Reminds me of the gag combo golf club and tennis racket I once saw. I imagine they will sell a considerable number of them. This is, after all, the land of the pet rock and those disturbing, naked little plastic trolls with the screaming bright orange hair.

    Two comments:

    1. The explanation is very weak, but looking at it I’d guess that they have a simple optical sensor in the box which triggers a sequence of sampled sounds (hence the need to purchase song sets) as your “picking” hand goes by. Of course, as most air guitarist are hopelessly spastic (if they weren’t they probably learn how to play the real instrument), I’m guessing that it’s not as simple as “one movement triggers one note or chord”, but rather, a couple of chords or segments of solos. Perhaps the motion is more of a trigger “suggestion” than hard trigger. If so, the guts on this thing would be very straight-forward: the sensor, a bunch of memory to hold the “song”, a DAC, and a cheap microcontroller (or maybe even an FPGA) to glue it together (depending on the complexity of the sensoring/triggering which I’m just guessing at). There’d also be some cheap analog “glue” circuitry as he did mention that it had ins and outs for hooking it up to other gear.

    2. Mr. Roxide apparently doesn’t have a clue as to how to play a real guitar or even the basics of how one works. Note how his left (fretting) hand actually moves in the opposite direction that it should (he moves it away from his body, i.e., toward the headstock, as the pitch increases).

    Absolutely disgusting. Appalling, in fact. I need to visit the bathroom now.

  3. #3 Doc Bushwell
    January 10, 2008

    Dennis, yes, but which church? Huh?

    Jim, I’d categorize it in the “loathsome yet I cannot look away” bin. I can easily imagine dudes full of bad monkey-piss beer and local yokel spleef fulfilling their wildest fantasies with that box.

  4. #4 Bill from Dover
    January 11, 2008

    Yet another was to slaughter Smoke on the Water.

  5. #5 JimFiore
    January 12, 2008

    Smoke on teh water,
    Fire in disguise…

  6. #6 Doc Bushwell
    January 12, 2008

    ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.

  7. #7 Dr Eye
    January 14, 2008

    Which of the three clips is the best argument against
    intelligent design? Holly carp! What am I doing in this handbasket….and why am I falling?