Ototo – Making The World Your Instrument
The recent success of the Ototo’s Kickstarter campaign shows that the desire to turn virtually anything, from a drainpipe to an eggplant, into a musical instrument is a burning one for many.
After smashing their desired £50,000 campaign by a further £23,000, the London- based Dentaku is ready to begin the hard part of mass development and is hoping to introduce the public to their new invention by June 2014. The Ototo, a credit card synthesizer and sampler, uses touch screen technology to feed input from any conductive surface or object into its twelve touch sensitive keys and four sensor inputs.
The keys are arranged in an octave scale, as on a keyboard, and with the use of spring clips any object can be made to play that note, while the sensor inputs allow you to use light, breath and force to control pitch, loudness and texture. Dentaku has also confirmed that while you can order a variety of sensors from them you are able and welcome to invent and use your own, allowing for a fully customizable experience.
What makes the Ototo unique amongst the systems such as the Makey Makey is that it is a completely self-contained synthesizer and sampler which can be used without being hooked up to a computer, however, once plugged in the Ototo can function as a MIDI controller, allowing you to use the keyboard as touch sensors and pairing it with such programs as Ableton Live and Garageband. And while the portability of the Ototo is attractive, with things this size durability is always something to worry about.
The brilliance of the Ototo truly lies in its ability to allow the user to dictate just how simple or complex they want to make their user experience. While no knowledge of coding or soldering is necessary, the ability to create your own platform and sensors truly make the possibilities endless. With three different kits being sold for between £60 and £160 the Ototo is both affordable and diverse, though this price tag may exclude the more casual users who are interested but aren’t willing to invest that sort of cash.