Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

A CES Long Shot: Meet the Beamz, Guitar Hero’s Odd Cousin

Las Vegas is full of vaporware this week. Also, some mainstream gadgetry that’s almost certain to end up in real peoples’ hands.

But one of the little pleasures of the Consumer Electronics Show is checking out the quirky, weird stuff produced by small-time companies working off of a gut feeling. It’s possible that one of them might break through, but the odds are against them. Which makes you want to root for them that much more.

See, for instance, the Beamz: It’s a $199.95 cross between Guitar Hero and the theremin, the weird electronic instrument you play by waving your hands in the air. (It’s the thing that makes the “woo-ee-oo-woo-oo” sound in the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.”)

The gadget/game is produced by Beamz Interactive, a Scottsdale, Ariz., company that’s been at this for a couple of years and a couple of iterations. The first one sold a few thousand copies, but product management VP Al Ingallinera thinks the company has figured it out with this version, which it’s selling online via Amazon and in retail stores like Brookstone.

I’m not sure. But I did like monkeying about with the thing, and Ingallinera was kind enough to demo it for me while I shot some shakeycam footage.

Meanwhile, if you’re at all interested in learning more about the theremin, you’re in luck. There’s a great 1994 documentary about the instrument. And YouTube is full of eccentric theremin clips. Like this one:

And this one, too!