The product was created by musician and record producer Jerry Riopelle, who began working on the device in 2001. Riopelle built the original prototype with PVC pipe and lasers, and later refined it with Todor Fay and Melissa Jordan Grey. to develop the software that controls the device.
How Beamz Works
The Beamz system connects to a computer via USB. Each laser beam corresponds to an instrument or sound that the user plays by interrupting the beam. When the player removes his or her hand the sound stops. Even though the player’s interaction with the lasers is random, the device ensures that the music will always be harmonious. Six laser triggers and two button-controlled triggers activate up to 64 independently controlled sequences of musical notes or events. When a laser beam is broken, the software program plays a musical note, event, or musical phrase that is always harmonious to the other sounds being played at that time. The Beamz product line is now in its 3rd generation with a smaller footprint controller with four laser beams cross-platform compatible with PC, MAC and iOS devices.
In August 2010, Beamz was listed among the Best Tools for Schools by the National Association of Music Merchants at the NAMM Show with the note that using Beamz was fun and a "great way to involve special ed students in music making."
- George Varga (2010-01-14). "New musical instruments attuned with innovation". Signs on San Diego. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
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- "August 2010 Best Tools for Schools". School Band and Orchestra Magazine. 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2010-11-20.