The O-Bow Optical Bow Controller
I’ll admit, there have been some pretty stupid looking MIDI inventions have made their sad attempt to be something modern and innovative. Instead they turn out to be a toy that can emit music, but with no regard for timing or correctness. I’m not too tough on their creators, because most of the time these creations are merely a backyard production or science experiment. Every now and then a good idea will be taken to shop to be produced on a grand scale – but there is always that small idea or invention that you wished would have been produced in large numbers.
This O-Bow, which seems oddly named since it isn’t a woodwind instrument, acts as a device to run a violin bow against, but it is not what you might picture. It lacks the rest of the violin as the notes are directed by a MIDI controller – but the bridge where the strings run across is preserved with a detection device that picks up the movements of the horse hairs. Even for a musician that has never played the violin, they could produce some authentic sounding music if left in the right hands. No word yet on how much one of these things may cost.