Here at Gadgette we love to see technology opening new doors for musicians and we’re big fans of increased accessibility in tech. With all that in mind, we’re especially happy today because Scottish company Skoogmusic just announced the launch of Skoog 2.0: a musical instrument with a focus on accessibility.
Skoog 2.0 is a hand-sized cube with a soft and tactile design that will allow more people to make music, even if they’re unable to use traditional instruments. It lets users play wirelessly using an iOS app (or wired into your Mac) and integrates with iTunes and Spotify so you can play along with your favourite tunes.
“There is a misconception that ‘accessibility’ refers to something that is only for people who are disadvantaged in some way, but in reality an accessible product is one that has been designed for everyone,” said Skoog’s co-inventor, Dr Ben Schögler. “In the same way that smartphones have been designed to make communication as easy as possible, we have developed Skoog 2.0 to provide an easy way for anyone to make and play music.”
There are 5 colour-coded sides that can be tapped, pressed, squeezed, and twisted to control electronic sounds. It comes with an app for customising and recording the sounds but Skoog 2.0 also works with other MIDI-compatible apps like Apple’s brilliant Garageband. The instrument is supposed to make playing music easier for people with a wide range of disabilities including physical, sensory, and processing, but it’s also easy to use for children or anyone else who might not be able to use traditional instruments. It’s also mountable if the user can’t hold it.
“Skoog 2.0 is an absolutely amazing piece of hardware – it is the instrument that we’ve always dreamed of,” said Craig Smith, Apple Distinguished Educator and Deputy Principal at Autism Spectrum Australia. “The fact that it allows such immediate sensory, tactile input, to explore sound in such concrete ways in interaction with the iPad makes it the most accessible music instrument out there. I love Skoog, and our journey with it has only just begun.”
You can see it being used in a live performance here at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh:
Apple has a great reputation for accessibility. For example, blind or deaf people can easily navigate iPhones and make calls to one another thanks to native accessibility options and apps like FaceTime. iOS is full of great features to make iDevices easier to use for more people. Yesterday Apple launched a new “Accessibility Accessories” section of their online store and Skoog 2.0 is one of the featured products.
You can get Skoog 2.0 for £199.95 from Apple.
Main image: Skoogmusic Ltd.