This crazy Yamaha concept turns your smartphone into a turntable

This crazy Yamaha concept turns your smartphone into a turntable
(Image credit: Yamaha Design Lab)

You can already turn your smartphone into a guitar amp and a recording studio, so why not a turntable?

Enter the Yamaha Design Lab TurnT – a hipster-friendly portable speaker that has a 'stylus' but doesn't actually play vinyl. Rather, it plays virtual vinyl platters displayed on your phone's screen.

The idea? To bring a touch of analogue cool to digital music services such as Spotify. Simply drop the (faux) needle onto the (virtual) wax and you're away. You can even swap albums by swiping your phone's screen, as per this demo video...

The TurnT isn't the only piece of conceptual 'audio art' to have come out of Yamaha's lab. The zany device is part of a four-strong collection of "new music devices" dubbed "Stepping Out of the Slate". All four are designed to work with smartphone apps, thus adding some tactile pleasure to today's graphical user interfaces.

The lab's other whacky creations include The Winder, a fancy music box key that plays "just one song" when you 'wind' it up. Yamaha has even gone to the trouble of reproducing the "flutter of the spring" to give your pitch-perfect digital track an authentic mechanical wobble. Here it is in action...

Planning a romantic night in? The MusicLight  – a real candle that plays music when lit – could help set the mood. When the flame is extinguished, the music "fades away with an afterglow". 

Last but not least, there's RhythmBot. This quartet of robot metronomes taps out wooden percussion sounds to add some extra oomph to your favourite digital streams.

Yamaha hasn't said whether any of these eccentric devices will ever go on sale. It seems unlikely, but all prototypes are apparently "built to work" and are currently being "evaluated".


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Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.