Project Soli isn’t in wearables yet, but these guys used it to create invisible violin

Playing the world’s tiniest violin used to be a way to dismiss over-sensitive whiners, but now, thanks to the good folks over at cutting edge design studio [Design I/O], it’s the description of an awesome DIY project that allows would-be musicians to create a violin sound simply by rubbing their fingers together.

The project uses Google Soli, the search giant’s purpose-built interaction sensor that uses radar for motion tracking of the human hand. While Google is using it for proper grownup applications like objection recognition and next-gen wearables, however, [Design I/O]’s project offers something a bit more musical.


In order to do this, it also relies on Wekinator, a free machine learning tool used to train and detect the violin gestures, as well as open source C++ toolkit openFrameworks for communicating with the Soli and playing the sweet, sweet music. Once all of these pieces are put together, what results is a device capable of working out whether or not a violin gesture is being made and playing back a violin sample accordingly.

“This is, I believe, the first time someone has made the small violin gesture actually play music,” [Design I/O] partner Theodore Watson tells Digital Trends. “When we first saw the Soli demo last year, the gestures used in the demo reminded us so much of the smallest violin joke that we thought we would try it out if we ever got hold of a dev kit.”

Watson says he would describe the tiny violin as more of a “speed project” than the somewhat more serious interactive projects he normally works on. But he says that he and his [Design I/O] collaborators, “thought it would be a fun and accessible way for people to understand what types of things are possible with this incredibly innovative technology.”

It’s hard to disagree with that logic — particularly when the end result is as cool as this!

Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.

20 holiday gift ideas for your co-workers that they’ll actually want

Your calendar is probably pretty hectic this holiday season, so it's easy to forget about your office holiday party. Given that we see our co-workers even more our own families sometimes, a gift is a very special gesture. If you really want…
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

In 2018, e-scooters reshaped the urban landscape

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.