Most pens write. The Piano and Violin Learning Pen, however, is built to read. Made for less-than-developed musicians trying to learn to play from sheets, it translates the notes all on its own, playing it for you so you can copy it by ear.
As the name implies, the musical device incorporates teaching materials for both instruments, so you and your imaginary friend can both get ample training for your upcoming two-piece duet. Don't have an imaginary friend? Cheer up. It should work fine with a real friend too. Of course, you'll have to take turns using it, which sucks. See, that's why I hate real friends.
Just point the Piano And Violin Learning Pen at the title on the sheet and it will play the entire piece (with real, live musicians, not MIDI crap) through a built-in speaker (you can also output to other speakers or headphones). If that's too fast for you, you can slow down the playback speed (three settings) to give you a chance to catch up. It also lets you pick individual segments, so you can practice repetitively. There's even a feature to play only left or right hand parts. What happens if you point it at a specific notation on the page? Instead of playing, it tells you what that symbol means, essentially giving you a lesson on sheet reading. Not bad.
The catch? It won't work with just any music sheet. Instead, it uses a specially-designed music book that interfaces with the light sensor on the tip of the pen. All the music and lessons are prerecorded inside removable 1GB memory cards, so you're limited to learning with only the sheets that you purchase from them. Still, with 10 sheets bundled and lots more expected to be available on purchase, it sounds like an awesome deal.
Priced at under $21, the Piano And Violin Learning Pen could just be the most cost-effective solution for those hoping to acquire sheet-reading skills. At the least, it's definitely cheaper than hiring a real music tutor.
[Gigiway via The Gadgeteer]