Sonic Geometry makes geometrically intuitive audiovisual controllers. Our aim is to make products that tactilize the relationship between tonal and geometric structures in a way that is both intuitive and profound.
OTO comes from the Japanese oto-no-katachi, which translates roughly in English to shape of sound. Though an apparent oxymoron, we feel this perfectly captures our product, as with OTO, sound is no longer only wavelengths: it has a tangible physical form.
OTO began as a masters’ thesis project at Berklee College of Music. Unsatisfied with any of the two-dimensional control interfaces already available on the market, we sought to create a new, three-dimensional paradigm that physicalized the relationship between form and sound in a novel and exciting way: we wanted to give a shape to the sounds we produced.
OTO is a geometrically intuitive musical instrument and controller that lets users “touch the shape of sound”.
Each OTO controller houses an IMU that communicates with a host computer via Bluetooth. The host computer translates the raw physical data into the musicalized output that users experience. MIDI notes, CC data, frequency bands and filter-sweeps… with OTO the possibilities are endless.
With OTO you can play synths, DJ, perform live electronic music, and even control your favorite Digital Audio Workstations such as Ableton and Traktor. Each set of OTO controllers will ship with a suite of both standalone and DAW controller software, meaning both novice and experienced artists, musicians, DJs alike can use OTO exactly how they want.
Whether you want OTO because you are an experienced DJ looking for a new way to take your audience’s breath away, someone with a long-time interest in electronic music who has yet to take the plunge, or even a parent seeking a way to introduce your child to musical composition and control through an exciting and novel tool, there is an OTO configuration for you. The modular nature of the system, and its flexible inter-compatibility with popular audio software means anyone can use OTO.
The current version of OTO is the result of extensive testing and prototyping. To call it “Version 1.0” wouldn’t really be accurate… countless obsolete husks of plastic containing old preliminary forms of the internal electronic components belonging to former versions litter our workspace.
We are working continuously to improve both the connectivity software and firmware to maximize stability and reliability, so that whether you are jamming with OTO in your bedroom, or entering the third hour of your Live Set, you can play with confidence.
Scale: We are partnering with reputable manufacturers to source high quality and state-of-the-art components at scale. One of our key goals is to make OTO accessible, so manufacturing cost is a key concern, but we will never compromise quality.
With OTO, or a system of networked OTO controllers, users can send Midi and OSC, trigger and modulate audiovisual data, control virtual reality, CAD environments... The possibilities are endless. The current suite of software patches is only the beginning. We want to build vast, interactive, generative musical topographies, powered by devices that are both invitingly simple, and surprisingly powerful.
Simple—by getting your hands on the first controllers, and experiencing for yourself what it feels like to have the shape of sound in the palm of your hand!
We don’t just want your support, but also your input and feedback as we work together to keep developing OTO.
OTO has been featured at:
As seen in:
"The natural symmetries between constructive geometry and familiar tonal structures are many and varied: the five tones of a pentatonic scale map isomorphically to a pentagon; highly-symmetric shapes serve as easy and intuitive user interfaces for navigating data. Sonic Geometry aims to make these relationships immediate and tangible through the engaging, even joyous context of music, creating devices that can be used in settings ranging from a bedroom-studio to a huge, interactive topography of semi-localized interaction/reaction nodes that feed vast collectively-compositional sonic audiovisual architectures."
Michael J. Samuels - Founder, Sonic Geometry
Risks and challenges
The current generation of Oto works great, and we’re thrilled at the prospect of making it even better as we pivot our production process from prototype-oriented to scale.
The transition to mass manufacturing necessarily presents unique challenges, and we value the opportunity to discuss these openly with our customers:
The current generation of Oto controllers employ a 3D-Printed housing, and a Roving Network Bluetooth protocol called “Serial Pairing Protocol”. For mass manufacture, we are implementing a less outdated, more network-friendly BLE protocol that will make the pairing process much more streamlined. Additionally, we hope to transition our housing production process to an injection-mold at a scale of approximately 1000 units.
Throughout this process, we will work continuously to keep you informed about the latest updates at Sonic Geometry, from day one of the campaign until the last unit ships.
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter