The government of Saskatchewan has awarded a grant of $14,755 to a Regina-based company that recently developed an app for the Vulcan harp, a favoured instrument of Mr. Spock on the TV series Star Trek.
The grant, announced in a news release Wednesday, is to assist Shiverware in marketing the app unveiled in December.
One of the marketing goals, according to Shiverware vice-president David Gerhard, is to present the app to fans of the space fantasy genre at an upcoming Comic-Con fan convention.
'We took some of the sounds from the show and used them as inspiration.' — Vulcan harp app developer David Gerhard
Gerhard, who is also a computer science professor at the University of Regina and a regular technology commentator for CBC, spoke about the app in an interview on CBC's The Afternoon Edition on Dec. 5.
"We worked really hard on the string dynamics," Gerhard told host Craig Lederhouse. "We want this to be a real instrument."
Gerhard said the company went to great lengths to ensure its version would have the same look as the instrument used on the series. Dials on the Vulcan harp alter the sound of the strings.
"You've got really interesting spacey kind of sounds and you can add reverb and distortion and stuff like that," he said.
According to Gerhard, Spock plays the harp in different ways on different episodes of the TV series. He said that gave the developers some room to play with.
"This gives us a little bit of freedom because clearly there's lots of settings that can be changed," he said. "So we took some of the sounds from the show and used them as inspiration."
Approved by CBS
Gerhard said the company started working on the app in 2011 after a fan of the show suggested it. Shiverware took its work to CBS Interactive, which controls the relevant rights for Star Trek themed multimedia, and won approval.
"So we are allowed to use the Star Trek logo and the Star Trek name and everything," Gerhard said.
The marketing grant was one of dozens announced by Creative Saskatchewan, a new agency created by the government to support the growth of the province's creative industries.
A total of $2 million in funding to 62 projects was announced. Most of the grants were for less than $100,000 and many were just a few thousand dollars to support trips out of Saskatchewan to help artists show their talents to new markets.
The largest grant, $250,000, was provided to the producers of a film called Wolf Cop, which was the winning entry in a movie development contest.