Beamz: Theremin hero

Beamz is a cross between a theremin and a burglar alarm in a heist film -- just don't call it a real musical instrument

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

You'll never convince us that being a bit handy at Guitar Hero makes you any more musical than the average potted plant, but we're not averse to a helping of music-based gaming fun. It was larks-aplenty, then, when we spotted the Beamz here at CES.

The Beamz is kind of a cross between a theremin and that bit with the lasers and Catsuit Zeta-Jones in Entrapment. Beamz' roadies insist it's a proper musical instrument, but that's rather like saying Bob the Builder is a proper musician.


The Beamz is a trident-shaped unit that shines six red lasers between its tines. Each beam triggers a different sound when broken by your hand.

The Beamz unit connects to your PC by USB. Download the software and new music packs and you'll see details of which sounds are triggered by each beam (pictured below).


The hardware comes with 30 original Beamz songs, with five more songs available when you register the product. You can buy more songs later, choosing from original Beamz tunes or Beamz versions of popular hits. The lovely lady in our main picture, sampling Beamz on the show floor at CES, was making a decent fist of the riff in Lady Gaga's Poker Face.

Beamz costs $200 (£125), or there's a souped-up $300 (£190) Beamz plus Studio software bundle that allows you to add effects, loops, rhythms and samples on the beams and use your own music files. You could even compose music on it, but imagine how real musicians would look down on you. Right, Beamz us up.