Embedding flashing lights into the neck of your guitar is one way to brighten up a performance, but Peter Holm and Brandon Williams have another. Their Firefly Pick looks like any other heavy duty string plucker, until it takes its rightful place between thumb and finger. It then springs to life with a rhythmic light show to complement your flashy playing.
At 26 x 26 mm, the Firefly Pick could probably stand in a lineup with the likes of the Primetone from Dunlop or the Wedgies and not look out of place. Rather than being solid thoughout, the Capacitron pick sports a light diffusive polycarbonate casing that's home to some tiny electronics, yet still manages to come in at less than 3.5 mm thin.
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An array of high-brightness RGB LEDs, pulse width modulated by a 32 MHz low power micro controller, is synchronized with a responsive onboard sensor system to produce a light show capable of matching various playing styles, fast or slow. The whole shebang is powered by a 2-mm-thick, 10-mAh Li-ion coin battery.
To conserve power, the system shuts down and goes to sleep as soon as you release your vice-like grip on the outer casing and, conversely, comes to life again the moment you pick it up again to play. Actual battery life will vary depending on use, but the developers have been getting a good hour's usage from the prototypes before needing to recharge via a micro-USB port using the included cable. Since it has its own power source, the instrument weapon of choice can be either acoustic or electric.
The developers are taking the crowd-funding route to get the Firefly into the hands of flashy musicians. This is in fact Capacitron's second run on Kickstarter. The first failed to reach its funding target, so this time the team has reduced the goal and spiced up what's on offer, and is now confident of success.
Four different versions are available to suite individual player requirements. The Original fires a light for each note that's picked. There's another version called the Air, which flashes in response to hand movements and so can be used with real instruments or to give your next air guitar championship bid a bit more pep. The Duo lights up in a user-chosen color for the upstroke, and a different one for the downstroke. The last option is the Insanity, which respects the user's color choice for the upstroke, but randomly chooses a second color for the downstroke.
Pledge levels start at US$49 for a single Firefly in the light color and version of your choice. The campaign is due to close on August 14, with estimated shipping penciled in for November.
The Kickstarter pitch video below shows you what to expect.