Celebrity Invention: Prince's Custom Keytar

More

celebrityinvention.jpgSome celebrities aren't just pretty faces. A few of them are also touched with that Yankee prowess for tinkering and invention. In this weekly series, we introduce you to the Patents of the Rich and Famous. And maybe you learn a little bit about how patent literature works along the way.

Inventor: Prince Rogers Nelson aka Prince aka The Artist Formerly Known as Prince aka that symbol over there on the right.

130px-Prince_logo.svg.pngKnown For: Very much a celebrity, not only has Prince produced lots of award-winning (Grammy, Golden Globe, Oscar) music, including 10 platinum albums and 30 top 40 singles, he has also led a high-profile love life, and been involved in high-profile celebrity feuds, including a recently-resolved spat with ex-lover Madonna. After the two musicians dated and then collaborated on Madonna's Like a Prayer, Madonna called Prince a "little troll," to which he dissed back, well, you've got a lot of kids. After almost 20 years of fighting, Rolling Stone reports that the two have resolved their issues this week.

But, even after legitimizing his career as a musician and icon, most remember the musician for his non-name name.

Invented Apparatus: "Portable, electronic keyboard musical instrument"

princeEDIT.jpg

It's a custom-designed keytar -- that's keyboard-guitar -- which Prince dubbed the Purpleaxxe. Prince's then-keyboardist Tommy Barbarella -- who now plays with Justin Beiber's band! -- donned the portable purple keyboard, to both enhance Prince's '90s jams and his glittery '90s fashions.

Rationale Behind Invention: Bopping across the stage with a keyboard that almost looks like a guitar, especially a purple one, is just a lot more rock-n-roll than crouching over a slab of keys.

Off-Label Uses:  A relic of last century, any contemporary use of this instrument is not only off-label, but gutsy.

Future Directions: You know those ironic retro-looking iPod speakers? Like this archaic boombox, which looks both outdated and useless, but is really a docking station in disguise? Outfit the Purpleaxxe with some mini Bose speakers, install an iPod dock, and voila: you've got a hip looking set of iPod speakers. Not only can you listen to music from your modern device, but you can also play rock star as you prance around your room, keyboarding along with your favorite tunes.

Peruse more celebrity inventions.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Rebecca Greenfield is a writer based in Brooklyn. She was formerly on staff at The Atlantic Wire.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Do Men Assume They're So Great?

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of this month's Atlantic cover story, sit down with Hanna Rosin to discuss the power of confidence and how self doubt holds women back. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In