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Virtual wah pedal lets guitarists change tone from anywhere on stage

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A group of former Purdue University students is trying to patent and license the "Ghost Pedal," which uses sensors to detect the position of a guitarist's foot and simulate a physical wah pedal based on its motion.

Ghost Pedal
Ghost Pedal

A device made by eight Purdue University students could let guitarists take their effect pedals with them as they strut the stage. The Ghost Pedal is made of two sensors attached to the ankle. One keeps track of what position the user's ankle is in, and another controls whether or not the feed from the first sensor gets converted into a wah-wah sound effect. After taking about ten seconds to test how far the user's foot can flex, the first sensor converts foot motion into distortion as if a physical pedal were being pressed. If the guitarist wants to move around the stage without worrying about the wah effect, they can tap the second sensor with their other foot to toggle it on or off.

The team developed the Ghost Pedal as a senior project back in 2011, but they're now trying to patent it and license it out to traditional pedal manufacturers as an alternative to something like the Hot Hand Wah system. For now, the pedal only controls the voice-like wah sound, but the developers say there's no reason it couldn't be adapted to any other effect, like pitch or volume changes. We can only hope their next project is an entirely virtual guitar to match.