Over the years, PRS Guitars has blossomed into one of the go-to guitar manufacturers in America. While the Maryland-based brand is used by some of the jam scene’s most notable players including Dead & Company’s John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s Jeremy Schon and Greg Ormont, and Umphrey’s Brendan Bayliss, it’s likely news to most that the company’s founder Paul Reed Smith has quietly been developing technology that has garnered interest from those in national security and medical fields.
According to a new report from Guitar World, Smith co-founded another company called Digital Harmonic in 2015, which specializes in revealing hidden data in images through brute force mathematical scoring and adjusting of pixel values based on neighborhood relationships. The company’s technological advancements have impressively earned the attention of professionals within the aerospace, national defense, auto manufacturing, and even astronomy fields.
The primary musical use for Smith’s technology is to pick out individual instruments from a multi-track recording, but one can also use it to enhance images by removing fog from a blurry image, or enhance nighttime shots and x-rays.
A statement shared to the company’s website reads:
The fundamental technology of Digital Harmonic was developed by Paul Reed Smith and his father, Jack Smith, who was an applied mathematician. What started as an experiment for measuring waveforms from a guitar string to create a new guitar synthesizer, ended up producing a technology that could truly revolutionize the practice of signal and imaging processing. The answer is found in high harmonics—creating a best-in-class method for extracting and analyzing waveforms and signals across time, frequency, and amplitude—thus revealing information never seen before. And applying this construct to images uncovers new data that were never thought to be possible.
The report states that the father and son duo initially used their mathematical method on Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway to Heaven“, and found they were able to isolate each of the individual instruments in the recording.
Smith was also recently asked in an interview as to which company he’s most proud of, which he responded, “That’s not fair. You watching Carlos Santana play on stage, playing a PRS, sorry, that’s good. I’m looking at information that I know no one’s ever seen before, that’s good too. You can’t compare the two. Both are good.”
Watch Smith talk about his universal technology in a recent interview below.
— Digital Harmonic (@DigitalHarmonic) April 29, 2019
[H/T Guitar World]