For over two hundred years the mechanical metronome has been a vital tool for musicians, but it's limited, often distracting, and can't be used in a performance setting. Berlin-based startup Soundbrenner's answer is the Pulse wearable metronome, which keeps the beat by vibration or light and can be programmed for multiple players.
Looking like an oversized smartwatch, the Pulse is designed to be worn on the arm or leg by a single musician. Multiple units can also be synced for groups of up to 10 people. At its heart is a vibrator that provides haptic feedback with an eccentric rotating mass (ERM) motor that is said to be six times more powerful than the vibrators found in conventional smartphones and smartwatches, meaning that even the most enthusiastic drummer should be aware of its beat.
According to co-founder and CEO of Soundbrenner, Florian Simmendinger, setting the Pulse up is very simple. Using the Beats Per Minute (BPM) tap feature, the musician just taps out the tempo on the face of the pulse, and the capacitive touch sensor combined with a proprietary algorithm reproduces it as vibrations or a flashing LED with customizable colors.
For finer control, the bezel of the device can alter the beat setting, and for the very control minded, there's the Soundbrenner smartphone app, which links to the Pulse via Bluetooth. The app can not only program the Pulse to put out up to 300 beats per minute, but can also act as a metronome on its own. In addition, it can store setlists, customize beats, synchronize up to 10 Pulse units, and act as a Smart Coach for practice and motivation. The company says it will be available both iOS and Android phones upon release.
The battery will approximately last 4-5 hours. If you practice with the device 30 minutes per day this will give you at least 1 week worth of battery life. Does the device work with both ?
"Following the beat is fundamental to playing great music," says Simmendinger. "It’s difficult for beginners and even for the most accomplished musicians who are aiming to achieve perfection. When you wear the Soundbrenner Pulse against your skin, you can literally feel and internalize the beat you want to follow, and it becomes the most natural feeling in the world."
The Soundbrenner Pulse is currently the focus of an Indiegogo campaign running through April, with an early adopter price of US$129 and a retail price of US$149. If all goes according to plan, it's expected to ship in November.
The video below introduces the Soundbrenner Pulse.