Three musical gadgets putting the prog into progress


Converse All-Wah

A few years back, the iconic sneaker brand issued a challenge to “hack” its footwear and come up with unusual collisions between shoes and technology. One of the ideas has now made it to production: the sole of the shoe effectively doubles as a wah-wah pedal. Yes, you can emulate the Theme From Shaft without any visible means of achieving it: microsensors in the sole sense your foot moving and adjust the sound accordingly. Plugging a guitar jack into your shoe is a bit weird, but if you can overcome that psychological barrier, literally minutes of fun await you.

Cardboard Drumkit

In Prog 63, we looked at a guitar made of cardboard, but it’s now the drummer’s turn to play instruments that look as if they’ve emerged from a stationery shop. They’re rugged, they’re light (less than 2kg) they’re cheap ($99) and can withstand one hell of a battering. Only one problem: they’re not very loud. In fact they’re said to be about 10 times quieter than a standard kit. Not ideal for anyone wanting to emulate Carl Palmer, but your housemates and neighbours will be absolutely delighted.


The safety of cyclists makes me nervous at the best of times, but the safety of cyclists listening to music on headphones while a bus whooshes up behind them makes my blood pressure soar. This product transforms cycle helmets into skull-shaped speakers; it’s just a small unit attached to the outside of the helmet which then receives sounds from your smartphone via Bluetooth. The outer ring alters the volume, the centre button is a multi-function play-skip control, and the whole thing lets you hear the music you love, combined with the soothing sound of rush-hour traffic.

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Fad Gadgets 65: Rhodri tests out a steampunk guitar pedal and portable speaker

Rhodri Marsden