The Skoog Combines Accessibility With MIDI Power

skoog

The Skoog is a musical instrument/MIDI controller designed with accessibility in mind.

According to the developer, “Skoog removes the barriers to music which are posed by the difficulty of mastering standard instruments.”

Skoog looks like a big squishy toy – but it’s designed to be more than that, bringing physical modeling synthesis, sampling and MIDI to users that may not be able to use a standard controller. 

Features: 

  • USB connection
  • Soft and tactile surface, inclusive for all users
  • Adjustable Sensitivity and a range of customizable options
  • Extensive range of Physical Modeling Synthesis, Sampling and Midi sound options
  • Works with Mac OSX, Windows XP, Vista & 7

In this video, Professor Nigel Osborne, discusses why the Skoog, and accessibility, are important:

The following video is a short interview with Stephanie Forrest, who has Cerebral Palsy. In the video, she talks about Skoog, using her Dynavox communicator.

While the Skoog looks toylike, it’s designed to make some powerful music technologies accessible.

Here’s a demo of the Skoog’s MIDI capabilities:

This video takes a look at using physical modeling with Skoog:

The final video takes a look at the SkoogMusic sampler application:

The Skoog is available now, via the Apple Store, Skoog and other retailers for £499.96.

15 thoughts on “The Skoog Combines Accessibility With MIDI Power

  1. sooo $800 for a 5 note velocity sensitive midi controller?
    how would someone who can’t grasp the use of pads or keys be able to understand the software?

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    1. it’s not that people can’t mental grasp the use of keys or pads, it’s that they might be physically unable to do it. like literally grasp. it has to do with dexterity and motor control. it’s quite rude and backwards thinking to assume that people that are physically disabled have mental problems.

      the software looks cool and fun. software, especially osx has a lot of acessabilty features built in.

      this looks like it could be interesting, for anyone, to play sitting with your hands and feet at the same time.

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      1. by all means, i was not addressing the capabilities of someone who is either mentally or physically disabled – as the comment left by “a” stated, i did mean physically grasp, though was not the correct word to use. i was just taken back by the amount of software control/understanding needed to operate the device – if someone can not use traditional input peripherals (mice, typing keyboard, musical keyboards, ect…) it appears they would need a decent amount assistance in setting up this device to be played and enjoyed, which defeats it’s design purpose and price point…
        apologies to anyone who i offended by my original comment.

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    2. This is cool to see. There are new midi controllers almost every week, designed for the average user, but this is the first I have seen with accessibility on mind. Helping everybody make music is a cool goal!

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  2. Great to see music tech aimed at people with special needs, music is a great therapy and anything that includes a wider users is great, and nice to see a non elitisist approach to music makng.

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    1. I’m concerned that some feel musical interaction for those with disabilities is a bad thing… if you are going to give a thumbs down, please at least explain why you are against this.

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      1. I can guarantee you that it’s because of the phrasing in the press release; “Skoog removes the barriers to music which are posed by the difficulty of mastering standard instruments” sets off an instinctual reaction in those inclined to rail against loop packs and production kits. It makes it sound like this is aimed at the “insta-producer” market, rather than at those who are disabled in such a way as to make playing a traditional instrument unfeasible or at least unenjoyable. If I hadn’t been previously aware of this controller’s purpose, I might have found that annoying as well.

        You must have seen people asking “Where can I get a VST to write melodies for me? What about one to generate chords?”. Those people have made those who put in the time to learn their craft negatively predisposed towards anything that promises to lower the barrier to entry.

        To be completely clear, I think the Skoog is a great idea.

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  3. For anyone who hasn’t seen it already, here is a link to a video (from 2011) of Brett Domino using the Skoog exclusively to do a cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”:

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  4. honestly, to me this is a very creative and innovative instrument and i am more interested in seeing what “disabled” people do with it than the truly disabled sheep who think generic analog synthesis and cliche drum patterns are interesting music

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  5. One thing that I find problematic about the skoog is that may have sacrificed some ergonomic possibilities in favor of its “cube aesthetic”. In essence, it might be that some of the buttons are quite easy to press, but pressing the front and rear seems kind of awkward. It’s maximizing button size for the small footprint of the device. This would work fine for layering in drum sounds, I suppose; but is limiting for melodic work.

    Perhaps in a future version, some number of buttons can be configured on different shapes of surfaces to accommodate different preferences. For example, there could be a flat, linear button array like a taurus pedal, or buttons on two sides of a pyramid, etc.

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