Children who cannot use traditional instruments may soon be making music of their own with an easy-to-use invention from Edinburgh University, which has now been commercialised.
The Skoog - a colourful, squeezy cube that is sensitive to the slightest touch, yet robust enough to resist strong handling - allows children who are severely disabled to play music in an expressive way.
Technology within the instrument's soft, tactile surface is linked to a computer, which converts the way the Skoog is touched into the sound of different instruments, such as flute, trumpet or marimba. Users can play a variety of sounds and alter pitch, timbre and volume with a very small range of movement.
Researchers Benjaman Schogler and David Skulina developed the Skoog as part of a project, led by Nigel Osborne, to make music more accessible. They hope that children using the instrument will improve their communication and concentration skills.
The Skoog was first featured in The TESS on February 6, 2009.