Rock the visuals to the beat

Electronic musical instrument manufacturer Roland Corporation is inviting everyone to have a go at being a VJ by offering five different special effects to liven up personal music videos.

Visual effects usually require a professional editor, but Roland’s Beat Sync Maker is an easy-to-use iOS app that automatically syncs its effects to the beats of a chosen video clip. All the user needs to do is pick effects and adjust their depths with an onscreen slider.

Users can invert the video’s colors, posterize imagery, highlight edges, add a soundwave effect and splice in other images and clips from the camera roll with the 2-Video Mix. There are even 18 pre-installed arty videos to use.

The free version of Beat Sync Maker allows users to create and download videos up to 30 seconds long, but for ¥360 you can upgrade to make videos with no time limit. If you’re already a Roland fan and have its Go: Mixer Pro or Go: Mixer audio mixers, then the full version of the Beat Sync Maker app is free.


Angling for a better catch

Fishing is often described as a relaxing hobby, but if all you end up with is a measly catch, it can also be frustrating.

Startup SmartLure’s prototype SmartLure α will appeal to those who haven’t been so successful or simply want to catch more. Currently in the process of being tested outside the lab, this high-tech lure is the same shape and roughly the same weight as a commercial lure — but it can do so much more. Its inbuilt sensor tracks its acceleration and movement, the temperature and illuminance of the water and other information — all of which can be viewed via a smartphone app. Environments affect fish habits, so using this lure to test the water first can help an angler gauge how deep to cast, or if it is even worth throwing out the line.

SmartLure has garnered enough attention to raise around ¥40 million in seed money, and is expected to launch some time next year. Made from everyday technology to keep costs low, it also plans to ensure the gadget will be reasonably priced.


Now that’s a bright idea

Though smart home devices are standard now, there are so many available it’s not always easy to figure out how to use them or sync them with one another. It’s not surprising, then, that Stak — a Makuake crowdfunding project that brings together the remote control of various home items in a single device and app — has already reached more than double its goal of ¥1,000,000.

Stak is a modular smart light bulb that allows users to stack its modules, which control different devices via a smartphone app. This means users can select different modules according to a room’s needs. For example, hallways may only need the bulb, whereas the living room may need the bulb plus the wifi module to control the air conditioner or TV. To make them easy to rearrange, each module also magnetically attaches to the other.

The whole device screws in like an ordinary light bulb and it works with appliances with remote controls. Because it runs straight off the home electricity source, there are no cables involved. It also supports Google Home and Amazon Echo, so it can be voice controlled, and because it connects to wifi, users can operate appliances while outside the home.

Stak is still in the development stages, but it has a release date of Feb. 14, and is currently available to pre-order at the early-bird price of ¥8,500 for a full set of modules (base, wifi remote controller unit and bulb).


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