Soundbrenner delivers a wearable device for musicians

Today's example of applied wearable technology is Soundbrenner and its cool take on the metronome

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Soundbrenner is a company founded in that hot bed of the music scene, Berlin. A company made up of musicians, Soundbrenner came together to explore what wearable technology would look like when applied to the music industry.

What they came up with was the Soundbrenner Pulse, a deceptively simple device that musicians wear on their body to replace the need for a metronome. At its simplest, the Soundbrenner Pulse is a wearable that enables musicians to feel the desired beat on their skin. Like the old-fashioned metronome, this allows musicians to play a steady, pre-defined tempo. But unlike a metronome, the Pulse isn't an audible device, and neither is it constrained to a still and quiet environment. Because the Pulse works by transmitting a vibration to the wearer, it works within the context of a noisy rock concert just as well as it does in a practice room.

The Soundbrenner team went to China to design the device and managed to find some high-performance haptic vibration motors that they say delivers haptic feedback up to six times stronger than vibrational alerts commonly found in today’s smartphones and smartwatches. First launched as a crowdfunding campaign, Soundbrenner raised $500,000 in seed funding and plans to have commercial delivery of units by early next year.

But Soundbrenner is more than just a vibrating wearable -- it is also a truly connected and connectable device. The Bluetooth-enabled wearable can be paired with smartphones, tablets and Macs to offer multi-player synchronization and to program advanced rhythms. In a concert setting, all band musicians can wear a device that has the exact same tempo, and they can ensure they all play perfectly in time.

The company is distributed with production and logistics in Hong Kong to tap into Chinese manufacturing resources. Software development continues in Berlin while a new Los Angeles office is designed to create an entry point into the all-important U.S. music scene.

Florian Simmendinger, CEO of Soundbrenner, has a big vision for the company. “We understand that rhythm is a universal challenge to all musicians.... Securing funding brings us one step closer to our goal of eventually touching the life of every musician on the planet with our products. We couldn’t be more excited!”

An unusual, but kind of cool, use case for wearables. Look for Soundbrenner at a gig near you sometime soon.


Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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