Playing the harp isn't the most high-tech pastime—unless, like Stephen Hobley, you use lasers in place of the strings. Though not the first home-built laser harp, Hobley's creation is unquestionably the coolest. Played by disrupting the laser beams with his hands, it can produce just about any sound. Better yet, it's also a fully functioning controller for a version of Guitar Hero.
The harp consists of a box with a power supply, a 450-milliwatt green laser, a mirror and a motherboard. After determining the beam's frequency, Hobley was able to tune a sensor so it would detect only the laser and not any ambient light. Touching a beam deflects light toward the sensor, triggering software on a PC that translates hand movements into sounds. He also wrote a script that maps notes from the harp to keyboard controls in the videogame.
Hobley is now selling the plans for the harp on his Web site (stephenhobley.com). He says he's recently had to upload a video of himself playing the game: "It was a direct response to all the comments I got to 'play Freebird!'"
Check out the video below, then turn the page to see how it works.
How It Works
Cost: $1,500Time: 10 days
Laser The beam reflects off a fast-moving motorized mirror, fooling the eye into seeing 10 lasers instead of one.
Sound Hobley moves his hands up and down the ends of the beams to affect the sound. A Nintendo Wiimote on the sensor tracks his hand movements, and the data is sent via Bluetooth to the computer to create effects like swooshes and pitch bends.
Gameplay Hobley wrote a script that maps signals from the harp into keystrokes for a PC version of Guitar Hero called Frets on Fire.
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I'm surprised this became news because the laser harp was already invented in 1980. Jean Michel Jarre used it in almost every of his concerts : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_harp
That is way cool and I can see how it would lead to some pretty neat stuff but atm its kinda boring :)
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Why not orbit magnetic wands that suck the debris out of orbit? Using large orbiting magnets makes more sense, and would cost far less!
hey thats pretty cool
it looks more like laser drums the way he's playing it.
hammer-ons? hammer offs? nerd power?
This guy really sucks at that game, I used to have a friend that was really into this game. I would go over and we would play 2 player, he used the guitar and I always got stuck with just the controller. I got pretty good at it though and was able to play this song, Freebird, on hard mode for perfect just once. Always better than that though, but I see where this would be a big seller for that crowd. Hell my friend would buy it, maybe I would get some guitar time... Not really, just not my thing really anymore. Is cool idea, would not call it the harp though, that will discourage his target crowd. Needs a cooler name.
Wow,Very cool. But I would like to know how you would sync the laser harp, so you can play the notes. This is so cool though!
I have awesome HD concert video of Jean Michel Jarre in Morocco using his laser "harp" over the audience.
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