Connected Objects
Keys MIDI keyboard gestures create new wave with a hand wave

MIDI controllers are already hugely popular with music making aficionados, from lone bedroom creators to DJs dropping beats in front of enthusiastic crowds around the world. Typically, music makers are extremely creative types who are always open to  different ways of interacting with their homegrown sounds.

Keys, a product from Team Opho, provides a new way of doing just that. Keys is a modular, LED-equipped MIDI keyboard designed for both novices and pros alike. Along with being compatible with widely used music software suites like Logic, ProTools, and Ableton, Keys can also be hooked up to computers and smartphones. The weighted keys on the keyboard offer users a comfy and responsive touch.

Additionally, Keys incorporates gesture controls and an embedded proximity sensor which enables users to control a number of different parameters like octave and pitch while giving them the ability to sustain them with different movements. If that’s not enough, Keys are modular and can be linked together immediately. In other words, without any wires or configuration, 24 keys can become 48 or 72 keys instantly. Keys can be had for just $92, and Team Opho, which previously created the gTar,  is looking for $50,000 in funding to get it off the ground.

Unlike other illuminated keyboard controllers, Keys needs to be charged. Its slick quick-attach networking happens without Bluetooth, so backers will need a Keys dock for its magic to take place (semi-)wirelessly. Still, the product’s gestural control, modularity and feedback truly makes it a stand out. Advanced musicians and deejays will appreciate that it’s compatible with many products already popular today even as the company preps its own apps. Those interested in this sort of experimental product can look to Skoog for another colorful take on the MIDI interface.