Skoog 2 – An Accessible Wireless MIDI Controller

The original Skoog is a MIDI controller that looks like a big squishy toy. It was designed to be accessible and bring physical modeling synthesis, sampling and MIDI to users that may not be able to use a standard controller.

Now Skoog Music has announced the Skoog 2.0, above, a new version that’s designed to be more affordable and more powerful.

Skoog 2.0 is a MIDI controller, designed with accessibility in mind, with a variety of sensors:

  • The entire object is a controller, not just the buttons
  • It detects ‘squeeze’ amount in 3D
  • It detects contact direction in 3D
  • Multitouch (x2) detects opposing sides

Here’s an example of the various control options being used to control a Logic Synth, over Tangerine Dreams’ Risky Business soundtrack.

 

The next example looks at using various gestures to control a physically modeled synth. In this case the patch is a plucked string sound, and the Skoog is used to ‘pluck’ the string, but also to ‘bend’ the string:

Here’s an example of the Skoog 2.0 being used to control a synth patch in Ableton Live:

Producton of the Skoog 2.0 is being done via an IndieGoGo campaign. The Skoog 2.0 is available to backers starting at £125GBP. Other packages are available that offer additional software.

6 thoughts on “Skoog 2 – An Accessible Wireless MIDI Controller

  1. not really convinced so far. seems that what this thingy can do is quite sophisticated in terms of expression, but extremely limited in terms of keys and polyphony. fiddling around with just two or three keys is not enough imho, however intense this may be.

  2. Why learn an real instrument? Acoustic instrument are not that hard to learn, it’s is person that can make it hard. Also, another kickstarter?

  3. Hey, thanks for all the comments guys! – when it comes down to it Skoog is a 3D multi-dimensional controller – it looks simple but it is actually capable of quite complex control. A common misconception is that it is just a cube with 5 active buttons stuck onto it. That isn’t what this is. The 5 “buttons” are mainly there as a visual/tactile guide to invite interaction, and help with guidance and control, but the whole body of the skoog is sensitive to how/where you deform it and it is up to you how you want to harness that control.

    For novice musicians, using Skoog in standard mode it has a different note on each side (they can be any 5 notes) and it speaks to some nice physical modelled instruments- it takes away the fear factor of playing a bum note, so you can just concentrate on the quality and expression of each note – we’ve been doing this in schools for the last 4/5 years and it works.

    Regarding instant gratification, who doesn’t like a bit of instant relief now and then? But seriously, we realised as soon as we read your comments that our intent in the statement about the “difficulty” of playing musical instruments had come across all wrong. You may not agree, but we think that musicianship comes down to 2 essential ingredients: technical proficiency and musical expression. And I’m not talking about musical expression in terms of number of notes per second, or clever key changes or time signature craziness. I’m talking about the dynamics, timbre and timing of each musical sound. For many, the achievement of overcoming the technical challenge is the buzz. But there are many for whom the technical challenge is (or feels like) a complete barrier and this prevents them from experiencing the more soulful expressive side at all. Skoog is about stripping it all back to basics and it turns out that when you take away the physical / technical barriers there is still an awful lot of music to be made.

    In Skoog 2.0 we’ve changed how the skoog detects how/where it is touched and one of the upshots is that we’ve added the ability to glissando between notes – so far this is only available in our Mogo synth beta software, but we’re going to be rolling it out in all our software. There are more configurations planned for the future – in total there are 17 distinct and detectable “zones” available to play with when you consider all the distinct faces, edges and corners of the skoog – and in theory they are all ripe for interaction (and for assigning different notes/chords/etc to or mapping to fx control etc). For all the hackers out there we’ll be releasing an API to give access to all of this useful gestural information in Spring 2015 if the indiegogo campaign is successful.

    FYI we’ve just added a basic £125 perk and a developer perk (with advance API access) to our indiegogo page – We’ll be putting together a M4L plugin too, but in the meantime we’ve also added a sneaky peak preview of mogo, our new skoog-synth creation so you can get an idea of what this controller is capable of. Check it out.

  4. is there a skoog 2 which has the coloured buttons as seen in one of your demos? I think it’s a brilliant concept by the way!

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