Playing two Bitties at the same time:
Want to get into making music, but find all the gear too complicated and expensive?
Bitty is a pocket drum machine and synthesizer. It has a big speaker and runs on batteries so you can take outside in the backyard and play with friends. And you can swap the software, making it many different instruments in one portable package!
Music Making For Everyone - easy to play, sounds like nothing else
Imagine a gateway drug for people wanting to get into making beats or electronic music. Imagine something deep enough for studio musicians too.
You can play the drums or melodies manually (which is better for playing along with an acoustic instrument), or you can use the left knob to select patterns and change the speed to make dance music or hip hop beats.
The pros will get a kick out of the sonic character. The output is 12 bit and it sounds punchy and crunchy like the early MPC drum machines from the 80s and 90s.
Want LOFI? You got it.
Let's start with the basics. This video is a nice and slow walkthrough of how the drums work.
Multiple people playing music at the same time is so unique and connecting. Unlike talking, which has us taking turns with each other, music allows us to speak at the same time. Like running through the forest together.
Bitty had to be loud enough to play outside with friends.
The speaker that comes on the Bitty is typically used as a car door panel speaker. And it's made of aluminum, not paper.
What do I get? All the software. Play it for years.
Every Bitty comes with ALL of the software and samples we've made. You plug it into your computer with USB, select from a library of sound packs, hit upload and boom, new Bitty!
We have sound packs like Theremin Bitty, Techno Bitty, Basement Bitty, Trap Bitty, Lofi Bitty Bitty, Beach Bitty, and more on the way.
Some people suggested selling different Bitty flavors with the software locked, but that doesn't feel right. We'd rather make a thing with a growing library of sound packs so it's a lasting product that stays fresh for years.
Keeping it fresh is the same reason we made it AAA battery powered. It won't die on you in 15 minutes two years from now. (And you can get rechargeable AAAs too). It can also be powered over USB if you're in your studio.
The Kickstarter run of this version will be Edition 1, each one hand numbered.
It has premium rubberized knobs. It comes preloaded with the Midnight Bitty sound pack - think synth sounds like the movie Drive soundtrack with some punchy drums.
You can swap the software later just like on any other Bitty.
Bitty in the Wild
Here are three tracks made by Trevor Waldorf, aka Hex Eater, from sounds sampled from the Bitty. He is using multiple layers of Bitty sounds with some additional effects (like the washy echos).
And wow! That punch.
Get nerdy on me
Each sound pack changes the sounds and the mechanics of the knobs (although they are generally similar so it's not confusing).
The sounds you see in the demos are combinations of these things:
Sine / square / saw / triangle waves (it's all there, noise too.)
Sample playback - 16khz samples
Polyphony - 4 voices is easy, depending on the complexity of the patch, 8-16 voices is possible
Filters - Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass, Notch
Patterns / Arpeggiation
+more in the works
It's a platform
Bitty is based on the Arduino platform. So if you wanted to really get in there, you'll be able to edit the code, or write your own from scratch. In fact any sound software already written for regular Arduinos will work.
But you don't have to, it comes playable right out of the box.
For teachers and parents: if I were a kid and had the choice between a stock Arduino and another one with batteries, amplifier and speaker, and software...
This project wouldn't have happened without many many people. And until today it ran mostly on debt and gratitude! Thank you to Owen Trueblood and Gavin Lund for Rev 1 and Rev 2 of the boards.
Thanks to AS220 in Providence, Shawn Wallace specifically for giving Nick the technical skills to start Curious Sound Objects four years ago.
Tim Barrass for writing the Mozzi library. Matthew Seaton and Noah Vawter for their contributions to the Bitty code.
Noah Feehan and Zach Dunham for their sage advice. Dante Fabiero, Gerard Patawaran, Marcelo Coelho, David Robert, Jeff Lieberman, David Cranor, Dan Paluska, Akito Van Troyer, Erik Sorno, and Ella Rinaldo for their friendship and support. Rex Baker for his counsel and good humor. Kate Balug for being a lovely person, an awesome partner, and a fantastic mom. All the Maker Faire people for setting up such a great opportunity to show fun things to a lot of people.
All the fine folks at Industry Lab and Kickstarter.
Well this is a pleasant surprise and is worth an update to this page! Codechangers backed two Education Packs! They run STEM summer camps for students 8-18 and will incorporate Bitty into their curriculum. How fun will that be! Check them out here. And nice to meet you Jason!
The latest set of prototypes were made by MacroFab, a company in Houston, TX.
And they turned out great - sturdy, smooth, and on time. Yes, we considered going overseas to save some money, but we would rather pay more for the peace of mind that we will get a quality product on time.
Risks and challenges
We're going to work with the same company to make the final ones.
This plan puts our minds at ease, as they are honest and reliable.
However, making thousands of something is a different beast. So to be cautious on our way there, we will: put the finishing cosmetic touches on the hardware, make another 10, test them extensively and out in the wild, make 100, test those for manufacturing reliability and logistics, then make the rest and get them to you.
This process will minimize any risks for the final shipped version, and we will keep everyone in the loop every step of the way (which is fun to see as well).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (36 days)