Children who cannot use traditional instruments may soon be making music of their own with an easy-to-use invention developed at the Music, Physics and Psychology departments of the University of Edinburgh.
The Skoog is a colourful, squeezy cube that is sensitive to the slightest touch, yet robust enough to resist strong handling and it allows children who are severely disabled to play music in an expressive way. Technology within the instrument’s soft, tactile surface is linked to a computer, which converts the way the Skoog is touched into the sound of different instruments such as flute, trumpet or marimba. As a result, users can play a variety of sounds on the Skoog and alter pitch, timbre and volume with a very small range of movement.
Researchers Dr Benjaman Schögler and Dr David Skulina developed the Skoog as part of a project led by Professor Nigel Osborne. They hope that children using the instrument will improve their communication and concentration skills. Dr Schögler said: “Making music can be a huge help in a child’s development through boosting learning and creativity but many children are unable to use conventional instruments. The Skoog can be used by anyone, of any age or ability, to make music.” The Skoog has been commercially available from March 2010 through a new spin-out company, Skoogmusic Ltd. The invention has received widespread interest from the education community.
This article was published on Dec 15, 2010