Specdrums: Create Music Wherever You Go

Did you ever want to have a musical instrument you can take with you wherever you go? You might say it’s not that hard, there are many small instruments, from harmonicas to flutes. Well, that’s true, I suppose, but while beautiful in their own right, while great-sounding, there is something they lack. They lack versatility.

In the past, there was no such option. The only genuinely universal way to produce a myriad of different sounds was the human voice. But time is marching on. With the introduction of cheap electronics, it became possible to add effects that just could be possible. The digital era changed things even more. Some of the most famous pieces were produced with only using digital tools.

Still, while useful and versatile, such tools did require large platforms, in the form of specialized instruments and computers. And while apps for phones did offer sound manipulation and composition feature, the sheer discomfort and inconvenience of having to rely on the phone’s touchscreen and programming reduced them to mere toys. To make something great on such a limited platform, you would need a specialized tool. A tool that is compact and does not require other electronics to work, other than your phone.

Specdrums is such a tool. While they can be used as a toy, any musical instrument can, but unlike most musical instruments, there is no harm in playing around with Specdrums. And if you don’t want to play around, if you’re actually going to create music, well, you can and are welcome to.

So what are they? Essentially, Specdrums are wireless rings connected to your phone that can scan colors, and do it fast. That’s it. The real magic is the app that uses the data from the rings. Available for both iOS and Android, it can connect up to 10 Specdrums. By tapping something with color with them, you send the data to the app, and it converts the colors to sound. Simple isn’t it?

If you start tapping away everything you see, you are not likely to get a real melody. But it will probably sound peculiar, that much I can guarantee. But that’s not the best part. The best part is you can use color-coded keyboards. The Specdrums come with a standard 12-color keyboard, but you can draw one for yourself. Or print it, for that matter. A keyboard will turn Specdrums from a toy into a powerful musical instrument. You can do so much with it! Even two Specdrums will give you endless possibilities. Just draw the colors, tune up the app, and you can have whatever you want.

A piano? You got it. A drum kit? Of course! You can create an instrument that doesn’t even exist. The possibilities are endless.

It matters little if you have a musical background or not. If you do, you will appreciate the Specdrums for their potential. If you don’t, the ease of use and learning will be its most appealing feature. And did I mention how children love this thing?

With Specdrums, you can forget about MIDI-keyboards. You don’t need them anymore. Just draw a keyboard on paper, and as long as it’s color-coded, you’re good to go. You don’t even need paper. You can set up the Specdrums app for using with your clothes or object you can easily find around you.

Another advantage of the Specdrums is that they are cheap. As for the app itself, it’s actually free. You will be only paying for the physical rings. And they are open source, so you don’t need to use the app. You can use other MIDI-apps with the Specdrums efficiently, or you can create your own. And, if you like them, you can connect them to a laptop to use it with such programs as Ableton Live.

If you like the sound of it, make you that you check it out on the Kickstarter.

Author: Max Walles

Max Walles is an expert Java and Python programmer. However, he prefers not to mix his work and his free time unlike many other programmers. He loves video games, especially indie games, and he's quite an audiophile.


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