This Musical Instrument App Responds to Different Levels of Touch

There’s no shortage of apps that transform your smartphone into a musical instrument, but it’s easy to feel disconnected from the experience when you're playing through a glass screen. With Apple’s new 3D Touch feature, however, music composed with a iPhone can sound—and feel—more sophisticated than ever before.

The new iPhone app Noise comes from the music company Roli, whose previous credits include a line of squishy keyboards with pressure-sensitive keys. The keys on Noise’s digital keyboard have the same soft definition, which highlights their touch sensitivity. Noise includes 25 preset instruments like “Breath Flute” and “Dirt Organ.” Every aspect of the sound quality from reverb to fuzziness can be customized, and looping synths can be sped up or slowed down as they play in the background.

The most impressive feature of the new app is its “five dimensions of touch” that allow it to respond to much more than just a tap on a screen. The categories are strike (how hard you hit a key), pressure (how hard you press it), glide (moving your finger side-to-side), slide (moving it up and down), and lift (how fast you remove your finger). Strike, pressure, and lift were especially made to take advantage of the 3D Touch feature of the iPhone 6S—but even if you have an older iPhone you can still use the other two dimensions of the app with iOS 9 or later. 

For serious musicians, Noise can wirelessly connect to a variety of digital instruments and sound systems. And while there is an option to buy additional instrument sounds, the app itself is free

[h/t: Verge]

© 2017 USPS
Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.



More from mental floss studios