I’ve never met a person that didn’t at least want to be able to create music. Few people, however, actually do it. Learning to play an instrument is a major undertaking that takes a lot of practice and patience. Even digital tools like Apple’s popular Garage Band software have a substantial learning curve. The average person simply has a difficult time wrapping their head around the music theory involved, to say nothing of the learned dexterity and muscle memory. But we all play imaginary drums when “In the Air Tonight” reaches the sweet spot, and rock the air guitar along with Slash in “Sweet Child of Mine.” GripBeats lets you harness that natural inclination to create actual music.
The GripBeats Kickstarter campaign launched on November 12th, and was fully-funded within 24 hours. Now it has reached nearly ten times that original $10,000 funding goal. Each GripBeats is a wearable device that resembles a watch wristband with a cord extending outwards at a right angle. That cord can be coiled around your wrist next to the wristband or wrapped around your hand. You can also lay the entire device out on a surface to interact with it. Each of those “modes” affects how you use the GripBeats device to make music.
For example, by laying GripBeats out on a flat surface, you can tap on it to create drum beats or play notes like on a piano. When GripBeats is wrapped around your wrist, it becomes a wearable instrument that you can use to turn your air drumming into real beats. Wrap the sensor cord around your hand, and you can use your fingers to play a variety of cords. All of those interactions can be configured through the GripBeats app. The device can also connect to any music production software as a Bluetooth MIDI instrument.
That capability comes from the sensors built into each GripBeats device. Those include an advanced 9-axis accelerometer, and 32 individual touch-sensitive pressure sensors arrayed across the length of the cord. Those give the device the ability to recognize just about any gesture, touch locations, and combinations of the two. You could, for instance, push on three points configured as notes and then move your hand to strum chords out on a virtual guitar. You can wear a GripBeats device on each hand for more complex music, and four devices can be used simultaneously if you want to jam with friends.
If you want to get your hands on GripBeats, the Kickstarter campaign will be running until December 12th. Super early birds can get a single device for $99, or a pair for $178. Rewards are expected to be delivered in May of 2020.