Review: beamz Music Performance System

If Dr. Evil of Austin Powers fame were more musically-minded, he may have demanded something like the beamz – a musical instrument with “fricking lasers” attached to it. As a kid with his music career still ahead of him, beamz founder Jerry Riopelle frequented an ice cream shop with a laser triggered door bell. When the MIDI music format appeared in the ’80s, he wondered whether the same concept could apply to making tunes. The result, decades later, is the beamz Music Performance System. This large USB peripheral includes six laser beams that, when broken, activate elements of 30 songs stored on your computer. Riopelle managed to create a laser-based instrument anyone can play – a harder task than it sounds, since the musical parts have to mesh musically in nearly limitless permutations of hand waves. Music experience helps with timing, tempo, arrangement and composition, but it’s so easy and amusing to play that only the Invisible Man could fail to have fun.

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