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NYC digital musician Peter Kirn is back from a residency in the wilderness of upstate NY with more weekly installments of the latest must-have gear. This week, it's a synth - air guitar - theremin - effects box powered by the vintage synth chip used in classic 80s video game cabinets.

Instrument inventor Tony Amendolare, with a background in everything from classical and rock guitar to chemistry, came across the actual 70s-vintage synth chip used in video games like Pong, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders. Now, those weird UFO and alien attack sounds power two new instruments from Electro Kraft: the compact $189 Space*Synth and $525 futuristic air guitar Space*Axe.


Both devices let you produce synthesized sounds or apply effects to vocals and other instruments using the chip, even creating strange modulation effects by routing in the output of another synth. The Space*Axe reimagines what a guitar is, with touch and pressure-sensitive sensors that mimic frets and a theremin-style photo-sensor so you can wave your hands above the body to produce sound. The inexpensive Space*Synth could be a way to make vocals, keyboards, and other instruments, er, spacier. See some of the geeky details at

Space*Axe Full Size Pic [Gizmodo]