The Hydra: A Triple-Neck Steampunk Guitar By Steve Vai

The brainchild of famed guitarist Steve Vai, the Hydra is a triple-neck steampunk-styled guitar that combines four different instruments: a fretless 12-string guitar, a half-fretless bass, a 7-string guitar, and a harp (seen at the bottom). Following Vai’s concept, the instrument was designed by Moti Kashiuchi and built by Ibanez Japan’s Kazuya Kuroki. There’s no doubt in my mind if you play the right chords on that thing, you can summon a dragon.

The idea for the guitar was inspired by a song on Vai’s new album ‘Inviolate’ called ‘Teeth of the Hydra.’ Each part of the instrument can be played independently of the others, with its own switches, mixers, and effects. Can you imagine how powerful it must feel to wield this thing on stage? Now I can see why they call guitars axes, and it’s not because you can use them to chop wood. I learned that the hard, expensive way.

The video tour of the instrument highlights a lot of the guitar’s customization and effect options, including a “seducer” effect for the harp. Personally, I would just leave that on all the time until I found myself with more groupies than I know what to do with. Although, if I’m being completely honest, even one groupie would be more than I know what to do with.

[via Laughing Squid]

Love Hultén’s latest modular synthesizer folds up and fits inside a slim wooden suitcase

Known for his quirky gadgets and oddly pleasing visual style, independent tinkerer and creator Love Hultén is back with his latest creation – a custom modular synth that fits entirely inside a wooden suitcase… legs, cables, and all.

Titled the EC1, the synth was commissioned by songwriter and producer Eren Cannata, and is a rather aesthetic mashup of a Roland JU-06A synth, the Cyclone Analogic TT-78 Beat Bot drum machine, the T-Rex Replicator tape delay, and the Boss Waza Dimension-C chorus pedal. Combined together like a sort of funky Frankenstein’s monster, the modules fit perfectly into the wooden housing designed by Hultén. With a two-part design, the EC1 opens apart into the keys at the bottom and the modules on top. It even comes with the steel legs tucked away inside the synth that let you set it up so you’re ready to jam in mere minutes. If you want to watch the EC1 in action, Hultén even takes it out for a spin in the video above!

Love Hultén EC1 Modular Synth

Love Hultén EC1 Modular Synth

Another one of Hultén’s oddly pleasing creations, the EC1 comes with an earthy color palette of an olive green panel and keys along with wooden knobs encased in a wooden cabinet that has the ability to fold down into a flat-pack case. The flat-pack synth is about as easy to assemble as a moderately challenging IKEA piece and comes with everything you’d need from legs to supports, and even the bolts you need to hold everything in place.

Love Hultén EC1 Modular Synth

Love Hultén EC1 Modular Synth

Love Hultén EC1 Modular Synth

Once assembled, the EC1 comes to life after you’ve plugged the decidedly retro coiled cables into the modules. The synth has its own set of stereo speakers built-in, and what looks like a strange glowing gemstone encased behind a glass window that definitely gives the synth a wonderfully steampunk aesthetic! Click here to check out more of Hultén’s work!

Designer: Love Hultén

The post Love Hultén’s latest modular synthesizer folds up and fits inside a slim wooden suitcase first appeared on Yanko Design.

Modder Turned Nintendo’s Virtual Boy into a Handheld

The Virtual Boy was Nintendo’s ill-fated attempt to create a 3D virtual reality gaming system back in the 1990s. The system required that gamers align their eyes with a tabletop viewer, much like those things they make you look into when you get a vision test at the DMV. It produced red-on-black images using LEDs and rapidly moving mirrors, and was controlled with an external joystick that you couldn’t look at while your eyes peered into the headset. Now, more than 25 years later, a talented modder has managed to build a completely working version of the Virtual Boy as a handheld.

Shank Mods says he spent almost a year on his “Real Boy” conversion, which incorporates an authentic Virtual Boy motherboard and is not an emulator. It takes real Virtual Boy cartridges, displays them on a modern LCD screen, and has a built-in controller with bright red LED backlighting. The build required creating several custom circuit boards and developing code for the custom controller circuit. The whole thing is wrapped up in a custom red and black 3D printed case.

Shank explains how the original Virtual Boy worked and the challenges in converting it to a handheld in the video below:

Awesome build, Shank!

[via HackADay]

Max Keyboard Offer Custom Printed Keycap Sets: Goodbye Group Buy

Mechanical keyboards have exploded in popularity in recent years, including swappable keycaps. You can easily find mass-produced keycap sets online, but if you truly want to stand out or have trendy or niche designs, your best bets are limited run or artisan keycaps. Aside from being expensive, custom keycaps are often made by small businesses that have to meet minimum orders. That’s why custom keycap designers or shops usually resort to group buys — limited-time full-price pre-orders that are announced in forums several months or even a year before they are produced and delivered. But if you’re willing to make a few compromises, you can design and order your own custom keycap set with Max Keyboard.

Max Keyboard sells entire mechanical keyboards, keyboard parts, and yes, custom keycaps. For the latter, you can choose between a 60%, TKL, or full set. The configurator has a limited selection of keycap fonts, colors, and modifier key names. But its flexibility comes in their downloadable keycap image templates that let you create and upload your own keycap designs, such as the ones in these pictures.

The keycap sets consist of Cherry MX keys. You can choose to have prints on the top, side, or both. You can also choose the size of the spacebar. I have not tried ordering from Max Keyboard, but from what I can see, their configurator has a basic preview and so requires a bit of imagination. But with prices starting at just $25 (USD), this is definitely worth considering.

[via randomfrankp]

This toaster lets you customize your slice of toast with personal messages or inspirational quotes

It takes ‘raising a toast’ to a completely new level.

Move over, Hallmark, this toaster has a pretty neat replacement for the traditional cake and card setup. Imagine this… It’s mother’s day and you’ve taken it upon yourself to make breakfast for your birthgiver. Pop in a slice of bread into the Home Party Hoaster and add a stencil with the pre-engraved message in. The toaster crisps up your bread while also reverse-etching a message into it. It’s a weirdly personal approach to just ‘buying a card’, right?

Designed by Seoul-based Min Soo Kim, the Home Part Hoaster is a conceptual toaster that lets you customize your bread with messages, images, emojis, and inspirational quotes. It does what a cake with icing cannot, and helps you begin your morning on a pretty positive note. The toaster works like any conventional bread-searing device, but comes with customized metal stencil plates that let you burn messages into your magical slice of yeast and flour.

The Home Party Hoaster comes with the proportions of a Vifa speaker, sporting a handle on top that lets you carry the appliance around. Two slots on the side let you slide slices of bread and the stencil plates in. You can set the toast’s crispiness using a touchscreen light panel on the front, and when the toast is done, it pops out, leaving the hot metal plate inside to cool before it can be removed.

I’m not entirely sure what the cultural significance of toast is in the east, although Min Soo Kim envisions this appliance as a nifty party-device, allowing people to share toasts with common messages on them. To me, the novelty of a toaster with a personalized message feature sounds like a great way to start the day. Begin your morning with inspirational quotes, uplifting messages, or just customize your toast with your name so nobody else steals it!

Designer: Min Soo Kim

Custom BMW S1000RR ‘Phantom’ is the most unreal looking motorcycle you’ll see today!

It’s almost as if the Motorcycle Gods speak through Mehmet Doruk Erdem’s work. If you’ve seen any of Erdem’s custom designs before, they’re best described as otherworldly, bordering on celestial. Erdem has a tendency to visualize forms and surfaces quite unlike any other designer, creating modern monsters instead of motorcycles. Each of his custom BMW bikes have a distinct persona and features a front-heavy design that almost looks like the torso of a jungle cat leaping towards its unassuming prey. Seat yourself on top and you almost feel like He-Man riding his majestic and ferocious Battle Cat (a slightly outdated yet absolutely perfect analogy).

The Phantom is one of Erdem’s more recent works, surfacing on his portfolio page just a few days prior. Designed using the BMW S1000RR superbike as its base, the Phantom builds on the sinister appeal of the bike, amplifying it to almost a ‘cyberpunk executioner’ level. The bike comes with a crouching stance, sticking to the ground as much as possible. There’s hardly any ground clearance on the front, but most of Erdem’s bikes fall within the ‘salt flats racer’ category, making it a non-issue, really. The bike comes with some spectacular panel-work that looks Cybertruck-esque, with its edgy angular design. Designed more in the vein of a moving sculpture than a production bike, the Phantom doesn’t really sport a dashboard, rear-view mirrors, or even a seat! However, for what it lacks in functional details, it definitely makes up with its bold, brutish design!

Designer: Mehmet Doruk Erdem

Amazon’s $25 custom T-shirt service uses virtual body doubles

Amazon has opened a custom clothing store, allowing all users in the US to buy T-shirts that conform to their measurements and specifications. Made for You requires you to submit details about your weight, height and body type, along with two photos...

I can’t decide if this custom Suzuki GT380 is retro or modern-looking, but I love it!

Looking at Sean Pelletier’s reinterpretation of the Suzuki GT380, it’s clear that his inspiration stems from retro stylings… although if you do tend to look at the form, the angular cuts, and just the overall sleekness, it looks undeniably contemporary. The custom GT380 makes the case that not every modern product needs to be edgy, with blue LED accents. A modern-looking product can have an evergreen appeal, with a style that’s refreshing to look at yet still familiar.

It all starts with a donor Suzuki GT380, which Sean and his designer collaborator Jeremy Lacy strip apart to its bare-basics before creating 2D sketches of the new design superimposed on the old framework. The bike’s data makes its way into SolidWorks, where Lacy builds his custom parts directly on top of the existing frame and components. This process, according to Sean, makes creating the custom bike much faster, as the new parts can easily be fabricated and assembled onto the motorbike, knowing fully well that each new component will fit onto the bike seamlessly. “Since the pieces were all carefully designed in CAD, no time was wasted in reworking things once they were built,” says Sean. “For example, we didn’t have to worry about the front fender hitting the fairing because we already moved the parts around in CAD to make sure there was no interference anywhere within the range of travel.”

The custom bike comes outfitted with a bunch of new parts, including fiberglass bodywork, an aluminum fuel-tank, HID headlamp, a plush leather seat that cantilevers beautifully off the back, right above an Öhlins shock fitted in the rear, slotted in a custom linkage. The end-result looks far from the original, but that’s the fruit of 6 months of labor on the part of Sean and Jeremy who both worked 20-hour weeks to come up with the final result. The final bike looks stunning, with an understated color scheme that feels comfortably vintage, rather than edgy. The pearlescent warm-white body, brown seat, and golden accents have an old-world touch, but the silhouette and cantilever rear really do give the custom model a novel appeal that definitely feels contemporary.

Designers: Sean Pelletier (The Motoworks) & Jeremy Lacy

Ultimate Ears’ new earbuds use lightform tech for custom-contoured fit

Like fingerprints, each person’s ears are unique. Since most earbuds only come in a few generic sizes, it’s nearly impossible to get earbuds that fit perfectly. Logitech’s Ultimate Ears brand wants to change this. Today, the company is unveiling its...