Samsung’s smart guitar concept lets you jam with people across the globe

The ZamStar startup came from Samsung’s C-Lab program and is expected to showcased at CES 2022.

Close-up shot of ZamStar's ZamString smart guitar from Samsung C-Lab
ZamStar/Samsung C-Lab

Jamming with other musicians is a lot of fun, but getting a bunch of people on the same page, or harder yet, in the same room (during a pandemic, especially) isn’t always an easy task — that is, unless Samsung has anything to do with it.

Samsung’s C-Lab program that supports its employees’ offshoot ideas has developed a multipurpose musical tool that helps people learn guitar and collaborate virtually with other musicians. This year’s C-Lab startups includes ZamStar, “an online jamming platform” that also comes with a smart electric guitar built with a light-up fretboard. If you don’t have a musical bone in your body but killed it at Guitar Hero, this smart guitar might be your jam.

Learn first, collab later — ZamStar isn’t breaking new ground in making a guitar that uses LED lights to help beginners learn. Fret Zealot has popularized the same LED light method that translates songs into light inputs, but it can be installed on any electric guitar. In the same way, the ZamString makes learning guitar easier by having beginners follow the LED lights and instructing them where to put their fingers to replicate a song.

But what gives ZamString its edge is the complementing ZamStar platform that lets you share snippets of music and collaborate with others. Through ZamStar, you can even record a performance and then sync and stack it with other musicians to create a whole musical ensemble, similar to TikTok’s duet feature. The feature also lets you mix and match performances and remix your original musical snippet into a totally different vibe.

Samsung’s startups — ZamStar and its ZamString smart guitar is one of several Samsung C-Lab projects being displayed at CES 2022. Some of the other more popular startups this year include Piloto, an AI mobile app that helps kids regular device usage, and Innovision, a nursery mobile designed to monitor babies and catch eye disorders early on.

Other C-Lab startups from this year include a robo snitch that detects cheating during exams called PROBA, a smart diaper care solution for the elderly, and a beauty tech startup that provides customized solutions based on skin data. All these projects, including ZamStar, have the potential to be transferred to an in-house division of Samsung or become spin-off projects that the company supports. In the past, Samsung debuted its virtual keyboard concept that also came out of its C-Lab program but it still hasn’t made it to market yet.