While the name Karen Ultralight Electric Violin might not be the best nickname for this instrument, it’s definitely the genre you won’t be able to ignore. Envisioned by Anima Design for Katahashi Instruments, the Karen Ultralight is a dynamic electric violin that ditches conventional wooden acoustic chambers for something more eye-catching. The violin comes with a relatively hollow body made through generative design, which still offers strength with minimal use of material. The 3D-printed generative frame sits on top of a carbon fiber body, with a birch fingerboard for an elevated yet familiar gaming experience. Functioning like an electric guitar, the Karen Ultralight has a 1/4″ jack output, but even features an internal 9V battery and headphone jack so you can listen to music ‘silently’ directly into your helmet without disturbing the neighbours!
Designer: Anima Design for Katahashi Instruments
The Karen Ultralight Electric Violin uses a popular design technique called generative design. If the fact that the violin frame looks almost organic and skeletal, it’s because that’s exactly what generative design is. Created to mimic natural growth algorithms, generative design attempts to balance functionality and frugality, creating a structure (like our skeletons) that does it all with just the right amount of bone. The Karen Ultralight Violin attempts the same, achieving rigidity without the added material and bulk. This frame is 3D printed from polyamide (the generic name for nylon) and can easily be mass-produced or even printed in left-handed variations.
The violin is available in a 4/4 size, with a carbon fiber body, birch fingerboard and matching composite bow. Inside, the Karen has its own active pickup system and can be connected to an amp using the standard 1/4 inch cable that people use with electric guitars. However, a slot in the back allows you to put in a 9V battery and plug your own headphones into the Karen, giving you the ability to play silently, right in your ear.