It's using a technology called 'capacitive sensing'. The Ototo is measuring the capacitance of the objects attached to it, once you touch the object it can sense the additional capacitance added from the human body which then triggers the note. It's a simpler version of what's happening on trackpads and smartphones. Which also means touching connected objects through other conductive materials will have the same affect. For example, playing a pot and pan drum kit with metal drumsticks would have the same affect as using your hands.
Anything that's conductive works, that is anything that will allow the movement of electrical charge. There are hundreds of objects and materials that allow this including: aluminium foil, water, plants, fruit and vegetables, conductive fabrics, conductive threads, conductive paint and ink, pencil drawings and any metal!
Ototo comes with a set of preset sounds that you can change by using the buttons on the board. We're planning a wide a range of sounds so that you can always find the right sound for whatever you want to create. Each preset is manipulated by the sensors in a different way, so there's lots of different combinations to play with.
Once Ototo has been funded we plan to develop some software which will allow you to add new sounds to Ototo via USB, allowing you to tweak the synthesiser parameters and download new sounds from the Ototo community.
Yes, it's a class compliant MIDI implementation which means it will be recognised in any MIDI compliant software and OS: Linux, Mac, Windows and iOS. This means you can control as wide a range of software as possible, including integration with the iPad using the Camera Connection Kit.
Using USB MIDI means you can control sounds being generated on another device. This means you can access a wider array of sounds: use Ototo to control professional music software such as Ableton Live or Logic, plug Ototo into an iPad and you can control Garageband, or create your own custom application which interfaces with the real world using Ototo.
For example in Ableton Live you could trigger loops or samples by using conductive materials while changing effects using the sensors, allowing you in perform with power of Ableton without having to use a keyboard and mouse.
Yes definitely, the inputs on Ototo are 5 volt analog inputs so most sensors that work with the Arduino will work with Ototo. The connectors are a 2.54mm Molex style connector which we've found are quite easy to get hold of. There are many different types of sensors available to try out; you can use accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetic sensors and more. We'll be expanding our range of sensors in the future, but we encourage you to build your own!
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