In La La Land, too-cool-for-cover-bands and struggling jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) plays on the Roli Seaboard Grand, a $3,000 futuristic keyboard that warps sound based on presses, bends and slides, after joining Keith's (John Legend) band, The Messengers. SEE ALSO: 'La La Land' as an 8-bit video game wins the Oscar for cuteness Last year, the company launched the $180 Lightpad Block, a palm-sized pressure-sensitive touchpad with adaptive LEDs for making tunes that wirelessly connects to iPhones and iPads, and two companion modules (Live Block and Loop Block, $80 each) to aid with performance and production. The goal of Blocks and Roli's Noise app for iOS (a beta version for Android is coming soon) was to make music production easy for people who are instrument-challenged, but still want to learn how to make some sick beats. Of course, if you already know a thing or two about making electronic music, Blocks is even easier to play with. Steve Aoki, RZA, and Grimes are just a few notable musicians who use and endorse Blocks.
Musical innovation is an interesting thing because it can too often devalue talent -- ahem, Autotune -- rather than accentuate and spread it. Enter Roli Blocks, a new type of modular music studio. The good: These little 3.7-inch lightpads are themselves the instruments, quite a treat for anyone who likes to create sound. A touch-sensitive silicone surface lets you make music through gestures like tapping and sliding. Use the accompanying app Noise to change instruments and record your music.
A large winter storm is expected to disrupt millions of holiday travellers across the eastern seaboard on Friday and Saturday. Severe storms swept across Florida on Thursday morning, triggering at least 3 tornadoes and dozens of reports of wind damage, as a result of the storm's straight-line winds. In Pasco County, 70 homes were damaged, 25 of those sustaining moderate to major damage. At least one person was seriously injured. Ninety-year-old Marie Weddle was struck in the head when her condominium roof collapsed.
Lead researcher Douglas Hill was inspired by his time in the electronics industry, where components are designed to work with each other. Hill was apparently "shocked to find out that bioengineers build new instruments from scratch" and can take months or even years to finish. That's why he created something that make it possible to build affordable apparatuses on the fly. Select undergrad students in the university have been testing the system for a while. William Grover, a team member and assistant professor of bioengineering in UCR, said they've "had computer science students write the code that runs the blocks, bioengineering students culture cells using instruments built from the blocks, and even art students design the graphical interface for the software that controls the blocks."