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The sound and vision of BeBop Sensors Inc.

"We are enabling the next generation of musical instruments, as well as a whole host of other consumer and industrial products with our smart fabric sensor technology."

 

Point Roberts, WA and Delta, BC - August 20, 2019 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Investorideas.com, a global news source and leading investor resource covering multiple sectors including music and technology issues an exclusive snapshot looking at BeBop Sensors Inc.

It doesn't take much to become impressed by Keith McMillen's successes. With a Career that has endured the better part of four decades McMillen has been the visionary and creative force behind dozens of modern electronic musical innovations. But it is his work that he is doing now with BeBop Sensors Inc. that has opened the door to an expansive amount of possibilities.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

It's hard to pinpoint when general interest turns into a tangible passion for something. It is especially more fascinating when it develops in a person's formative years. McMillen explained how his genuine curiosity turned into a lifelong endeavour.

"My love of electronic music started when I was in elementary school and got a copy of Switched on Bach. Having heard most worldly sounds by that age, it was shocking - in a good way. After that, I started hearing synths everywhere, until they really were everywhere. I first built a guitar amplifier when I was ten because I couldn't afford to buy one. I have been designing musical instruments ever since."

And indeed the designing of musical instruments lead him to start his first company in 1979. Zeta Music designed and built modern versions of electronic stringed instruments until it was sold to Gibson in 1992. Thereafter McMillen set his sights on a problem that many music playing platforms hadn't addressed - the inconsistent volume levels and audio quality across music players. Octiv produced the technology that found a way around the problem and has been used by companies such as Itunes and was sold to Plantronics in 2005.

McMillen also identified a problem that many touring musicians were having. Being a touring musician himself he found it increasingly difficult to travel while managing a large amount of oppressive gear.

"...I founded KMI (Keith McMillen Instruments) to build hardware and software to enable compact electronic musical instruments. We have now built dozens of products, some of which have used millions of sensors worldwide, used by both professional as well as up and coming musicians."

The birth of BeBop.

The move towards a more enlightened way in which musicians interact with their instruments began with McMillen's earliest innovations such as the first programmable audio mixer and router (AKAI MPX820 and MB76), Mirror 6 MIDI Guitar, SoftStep 3D foot controller, K-Bow Bluetooth sensor bow, QuNeo 3D pad controller and the QuNexus and K-Board keyboards, among many others. But it was with BeBop that allowed the ideas to evolve into something beyond the original vision. McMillen first explained how BeBop had been inspired by the need to adapt the way in which the human touch interacts with stringent computer technology.

"In many of these above products, to sense the touch and thereby initiate music, we needed sensors that had fast response times, were light, thin, and cost effective. Such a product wasn't commercially available, so we created our own proprietary sensors using smart fabrics. These fabric sensors had a market appeal on their own beyond musical instruments and this gave birth to BeBop Sensors, a company I founded in 2014. Bebop Sensors has been inventing, designing, engineering, and manufacturing smart fabric sensor based products to connect squishy humans with rigid computers."

With that simple idea in mind the use for a technology that allows for the interaction of human facilities alongside adaptive computer technology opens the door to an endless amount of uses. The ability to add the human touch to the most advanced technologies perhaps has yet to reveal it's full potential.

"BeBop started by shipping sensors to a variety of industrial, automotive, medical, and consumer applications. They were mostly custom designs for OEMs. The applications ranged from hospital beds,

wheel chairs, infant car seats, automobile steering wheels, insoles in shoes, track pads, sports helmets,and dozens of others. Among these, one application stood out - sensors in gloves, used in Virtual Reality applications."

In keeping with the idea of the human touch McMillen explains the most exciting developments of wearable sensor technology.

"In the VR environment, nothing quite replaces the motion and flexibility of the human hand. We have created a wireless data glove hand-tracking system to track fingers and fingertips and send tactile

feedback via haptic actuators. The sensors offer speeds of 1000Hz for fast response times and low latency. The battery can be charged over a standard Micro USB cable and works all day. We designed the Bebop Forte Data Gloves such that they are comfortable, with an open palm construction to reduce sweating and a one-size-fits-all design that is thin and light."

The Future: BeBop and beyond.

"Our gloves are now used in VR training applications by a variety of Fortune 500 customers. We have been shipping everything we have made thus far and plan to release a mass production version in the next few weeks."

With all that in mind, the original spark for the idea of a new progressive way of looking at and interacting with musical instruments hasn't died out. The technology has grown beyond the use for the next generation of musicians but is still very much alive in that realm. The natural progression of the technology is exciting in itself and certainly keeps a keen observer wonder where it will go next. McMillen's vision for the future has the same effect.

"We are enabling the next generation of musical instruments, as well as a whole host of other consumer and industrial products with our smart fabric sensor technology. We are building state-of-the-art musical instruments with our sensor technology. These are compact, electronic, and they are creating amazing music thanks to creative artists in the field. I also want to have instruments networked so they can influence the players, the score, and each other. Acoustic instruments "network" by blending in the air. Electronic instruments can "blend" at the network control level live on stage. Imagine what this will sound like. In the future, we hope that our sensor technology embedded in the data gloves will also enable musicians to become more skilled at their craft by providing them with vital data, recommendations and solutions. Finally, I am surrounded by an incredible team, most of them musicians themselves, with deep interest in creating products that influence today's musicians to create tomorrow's music."

You can track McMillen's and BeBop Sensors Inc. at their website www.bebopsensors.com

By Noel Campbell for Investorideas.com


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