Oddball is the innovative, sensor-filled drum machine you can bounce

Whether it’s robot-controlled orchestras, cyberpunk saxophones, or zero-gravity space chimes, we’re suckers for weird musical instruments. Now, thanks to a recently launched Kickstarter campaign, there’s a new entry on our list — and, fittingly for such an avant-garde creation, it’s called Oddball.

If you were to give Oddball the high-concept elevator pitch, you would probably describe it as a throwable drum machine. Essentially, it’s a sensor-filled ball which uses pressure sensors and accelerometers to work out when it hits a surface, and how hard it hits the said surface. When one of these collisions takes place, it uses Bluetooth to trigger a sound played through an accompanying mobile app. By programming different sounds, and finding new ways to bounce the ball, it’s possible to create all manner of new beats and loops.

“The main idea behind Oddball is to make music more accessible, playful, and intuitive for everybody,” co-creator Pasquale Totaro told Digital Trends. “[Co-founder Nathan Webb and I] were talking about that instinctual pleasure you feel when playing an instrument, when you make noise, and when you lay down a groovy beat. We realized that, in reality, it is something that is reserved for a very small group of people — because you need to buy an instrument, commit to practicing and lessons, and is quite uncomfortable when you are just starting off. We asked ourselves, ‘how can we create something that is user-friendly, playful, and easy to use that would allow anybody to experience making music?’ That is how the idea of a ball came about. A ball is the iconic symbol of play: Everybody knows how to bounce it, and the physical nature of using a ball is very rhythmic.”

The accompanying Oddball mobile app lets you select the sound you want to play when the ball bounces, loop beats and overdub, share your created songs with friends, add additional effects, or even play over existing songs. If you’re a bit more skillful, you can also connect multiple balls and assign different sounds to each for a bouncing orchestra effect.

“Imagine if you are out and about, and you want to make a beat,” c0-creator Nathan Webb told us. “Yes, you can use a portable MIDI pad, but with Oddball your whole body and the environment around you can be part of that creative moment.”

As ever, we offer our usual warnings about the potential risks associated with crowdfunding campaigns. However, if you’re interested in getting involved, head over to the Oddball Kickstarter page to pledge your hard-earned cash. A single Oddball will set you back $77.50, although other price options are also available. Shipping is set to take place in January 2019.

Emerging Tech

No keyboard? No problem. Masterkey will project you a virtual one to type on

Miss having a physical keyboard when you're out and about? Wish you could have a mobile display bigger than your smartphone can offer? Masterkey 4.0 is a wireless projector that promises to help.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Movies & TV

Premium network, premium content: The best movies on HBO right now

HBO always has a solid selection of feature-length films on tap, but the offerings rotate fairly regularly, and browsing fatigue can set in given the sheer volume of the catalog. Here are our current favorites.
Emerging Tech

Bizarre stork robot uses a drone to compensate for its weak, twig-like legs

Developed by engineers from Japan’s University of Tokyo, Aerial Biped is a robot whose top half is comprised of a flying quadrotor UAV that's rooted to the ground by thin stork-like legs.
Emerging Tech

A treasure trove of 3D scientific specimens is now free to see online

Thanks to the California Academy of Sciences, you can access more than 700 scientific specimens and artifacts from the world-class collection via the online 3D and virtual reality platform Sketchfab.
Emerging Tech

Lyd is a battery-powered, ‘no-spill’ bottle that is activated by your lips

Lyd is a battery-powered bottle that’s something like a sippy cup for adults. Its no-spill solution is a specialized lid that uses an algorithm to detect when your lips are on the bottle.
Emerging Tech

Cotton and corn! Reebok’s newest sneaker is ‘made from things that grow’

Keen to move away from using oil-based materials to make its footwear, Reebok has turned to cotton and corn for its latest sneaker. No dyes have been used to color the shoes, either, and the packaging is 100 percent recyclable.

Apple AR glasses will launch in 2020, says respected industry analyst

Apple AR glasses may be closer to reality than we thought. Here is everything we know so far about the augmented reality system, including the rumored specifications of Apple's Project Mirrorshades.
Emerging Tech

A new way to ‘freeze’ water could help transform organ preservation

Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a way of keeping water as a liquid at temperatures far below freezing. Here's why that could help transform organ preservation.
Emerging Tech

Meet the Mantis Q: A drone you can control by yelling, waving, or even smiling

"Mantis, take a picture." Yuneec's new consumer drone, the Yuneec Mantis Q, responds to voice commands along with gestures and smiles. The 4K drone also integrates several different flight modes and safety features inside a one-pound…
Emerging Tech

This robot arm could soon recharge your electric car, no driver effort required

Researchers in Austria have developed a smart robotic charger that can automatically plug itself into any electric vehicle, no driver effort required whatsoever. What could be simpler?
Emerging Tech

Police body cams are scarily easy to hack into and manipulate, researcher finds

Nuix cybersecurity expert Josh Mitchell has demonstrated how it is possible to hack into and potentially manipulate footage from police body cams. The really scary part? It's shockingly easy.
Emerging Tech

Scientists try to trick brains of amputees with phantom limb syndrome

New research might help some amputees better mesh what they see with what they feel. In a recently published paper, researchers show how an amputee’s brain can be tricked into believing a prosthetic hand belongs to their own body.