It’s not exactly Jimi - but it’s awesome, from Silicon Valley, and worthy of our national anthem. Welcome to the wild new world of low-cost open-source hardware married to the iPhone.
Last week I learned about Lemnos Labs and attended their inaugural Demo Day. They’re the world’s first hardware-focused incubator. Located a stone’s throw from the Caltrain station in San Francisco, they’ve just launched an eclectic mix of exciting new startups.
One of those companies, Unplugged Instruments, blew me away. Imagine an electric guitar with a built-in amp and loudspeaker. Now imagine the same guitar with a high-quality amp and loudspeaker - sounds a lot better, right? Now combine that with an iPhone app - and suddenly you have magic. Play along to your favorite songs, as if you’re a member of a band - any band you can imagine, from anywhere in the world. Tap into effects that used to take a minicomputer or an iMac to reproduce, but now on your iPhone. And you’re still playing the guitar. A real guitar. Millions of guitars are still sold every year - and these guys have created a compelling new musical device. Simply amazing.
I love this stuff. Entrepreneurs will be pouring out of the CE companies over the next several years and hardware-based startups are going to define the next wave of innovation in Silicon Valley.