The karlax resembles a clarinet or soprano saxophone in size and geometry, although its control structures do no involve blowing air through the instrument. Instead, the karlax wirelessly transmits data to a sound engine (e.g., computer software instrument) by manipulating 10 keys (with continuous range output), 8 velocity-sensitive pistons, 17 buttons and a combination mini-joystick and LCD character display, operated with the thumb of the left hand. The interior of the karlax contains both a 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer. In addition, the upper and lower half of the karlax can be twisted in opposite directions; that is to say, the upper and lower half can be rotated in opposite directions because the joint between the two halves of the instrument acts as a type of rotary potentiometer with a maximum rotation angle of 65°. Furthermore, at each angle boundary (i.e., 0° and 65°), the karlax offers an additional 12.5° of resistive twist space, providing a resistive force for the performer, who may have a sensation similar to bending or pulling a spring – albeit the movement is still a twisting/turning motion.
Development on the karlax began in 2001. This digital musical instrument has been commercially available since approximately the mid-2000s and is manufactured by DA FACT, in Paris, France.
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