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This $75 synthesizer will turn anything into an instrument

This $75 synthesizer will turn anything into an instrument

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Yuri Suzuki, the designer that brought you cabs that create music from street noise and helped Disney turn your earlobe into a speaker, is launching a Kickstarter through his company Dentaku for a circuit board that turns anything and everything into a musical instrument. Calling Ototo a circuit board is selling it short; it's actually a customizable synthesizer that can be played straight away using your fingers. However, if you connect a clip from any conductive material to one of the synthesizer's contact points, touching that material will play a note on the synthesizer. The list of objects this will work with is virtually endless, with a video launching the Kickstarter campaign showing Ototo connected to all manner of fruits, vegetables, and household objects.

Ototo's synthesizer has a number of different sounds that you can choose between, as well as granular control over pitch, loudness, and texture. The basic kit is priced at £45 ($75), but there are a number of sensors and attachments that can extend Ototo's capabilities beyond simple touch controls. There's a rotation control that acts a kind of variable resistor, allowing you to twist it to change a sound; a light meter that modifies sounds based on the amount of light it receives; a slide control that can be used for sweeping pitch changes, a breath sensor that can change the loudness of a note when you blow harder; and more. It's an extremely adaptable DIY system, which Dentaku wants people to experiment with and have fun.


You'll be able play the music you create through a built-in speaker, listen to it on a pair of headphones, or output it through USB, with Ototo acting as a MIDI controller. It's powered by batteries or a standard USB cable. There are a number of different pledge tiers, ranging from the aforementioned basic kit at £45 ($75) to a kit including all of the optional sensors at £120 ($162). Dentaku's Kickstarter needs to raise £50,000 to make the project happen, and should the company reach that goal, it expects to deliver Ototo to backers this June.