Skip to main content

The Pipe is a futuristic new instrument that looks like a cyberpunk saxophone

the PIPE by SOMA laboratory (Full demo HD 720p)
From Apple Macintosh originator Jef Raskin’s love of the Renaissance-era cornetto to virtual reality pioneer Jarod Lanier’s mastery of various Asian wind and string instruments, there is a long history of engineers also being brilliant musicians — often using obscure or unusual tools to make their music. Ukraine-born engineer and musician Vlad Kreimer is the latest person to fit into that category, with an innovative mouth-controlled instrument called the Pipe that is capable of transforming a person’s voice into a drumbeat or synth.

“I’m a composer of electronic music, and I always wanted to use my voice, but I’m not a great singer,” Kreimer told Digital Trends. “The biggest problem for me was trying to sing with lyrics. I can write either vocals that have meaning to them but no rhythm, or I can write a good melody for singing, but no meaningful lyrics. I’ve found, in my experience, that the most important part of singing is expressing emotions and feelings. So instead I began using my voice as a lead instrument. Soon I realized that what I actually wanted was to sing like a synthesizer, but I needed to expand the sound of my voice beyond a conventional vocal performance. Eventually, I decided to add special FX processing to a mic to make the voice transformation complete. For me, the most attractive part of the Pipe is that I can make a whole performance with just it.”

He’s not kidding. In addition to a range of vocal distortion algorithms (currently there are eight, although this will soon expand past 12) that can be used to alter the player’s voice or breathing sound, the Pipe can also be used to create its own lighting, resulting in the “whole performance” Kreimer was after.

As the founder of SOMA Laboratory, Kreimer now plans to mass produce musical instruments of his own design — of which the Pipe is just one. The device consists of a handheld element and small communication box with left and right output jacks. It is available in black and white options and will be priced, he says, somewhere between 400-450 euros ($490-$550), plus postage. Final pricing will be announced at a later date when all the manufacturing processes are sorted out.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
See what a black hole looks like up close in NASA’s incredible new visualization
NASA's Black Hole Visualization

NASA released a visualization of what a black hole might look like up close, and it’s mesmerizing to see. 

The visualization simulates how a black hole’s dense gravity would distort our view, resulting in a warped image that resembles a reflection in a carnival mirror. In more scientific terms, NASA says it “simulates the appearance of a black hole where infalling matter has collected into a thin, hot structure called an accretion disk.”

Read more
The new Windows 10 File Explorer could look like this in 2020
windows 10 file explorer update 2020 fileexplorerresdesign01

As part of the continued rollout of Fluent Design principles in Windows 10, Microsoft will reportedly extend that aesthetic and functional style to the Windows File Explorer. The report suggests that the update will be introduced in the planned 20H1 update for Windows 10, scheduled for an early 2020 release. It will first come to light in Windows Insider builds, however, so we'll get our first glimpse of any File Explorer changes later this year.

Microsoft first introduced Fluent Design at its Build 2017 show and from there gradually introduced new apps and updated interface elements in Windows 10 with the heavily stylized aesthetic. Transparent backdrops and pastel colors abound as Microsoft looked to modernize the look of its flagship operating system. Today, much of Windows 10 enjoys that same visual flair and according to the report from HTNovo, that will extend to File Explorer in the near future.

Read more
This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter
xl18 flamethrower 2

XL18 Flamethrower Reveal: World's Most Powerful

In 2015, Digital Trends wrote about a civilian flamethrower manufactured by the Cleveland-based company Throwflame. At the time, we marveled over the model X15’s astonishing 65-feet jets of fire and, frankly, wondered how such a thing was legal to buy for ordinary folks like us. Jump forward to the present day and the makers of the X15 have launched their long-awaited successor. And if you were surprised that the X15 was available for folks to purchase over the internet, this one’s going to blow your mind.

Read more