A group of researchers at Tokyo Metropolitan University have developed a handheld scanner that's able to read sheet music and play back a composition in real-time whether it's designed for a piano, a guitar, or an entire symphony. So if it's ever commercialized, wannabe Mozarts and Beethovens will always have an orchestra at their disposal.

The Gocen can easily handle chords, has basic optical character recognition capabilities so it can read and decipher words like trumpet or violin, and is even able to discern how loud a note should be played based on how large it is. And while the prototype remains tethered to a PC for all of its processing, there's no reason that couldn't eventually be passed off to a smartphone app. With more mobility the Gocen is not only poised to be a great learning tool for amateur composers, but in the future your local symphony might just be a single musician furiously scanning away on a famous concerto. [DigInfo TV]