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Spherical instrument Odd Ball is adding new gestures to let you become a house DJ

Odd Ball is a company that makes fun electronic bouncy balls that you can create MIDI sounds by hitting or bouncing them. The company is adding new gestures to its devices, including spin, twist, move, shake and air-throw, so you can make sounds in new ways.

With the latest app update, the company is also letting you become the DJ at house parties through these gestures. It includes a DJ mode with some background tracks and on-screen gesture instructions for that track. When you combine one or more gestures, the app will play a sound effect on top of the track.

Odd ball

Image Source: Odd ball

The startup now divides gestures into two categories: triggers (click, shake, twist), which the company describes as similar to playing a note; and modulators (move, spin, air-throw), which the company sees as controls Knobs on the desk.

The intensity of the gesture is also important. The app will generate sounds based on how hard or fast you spin or shake the ball.

Image Source: Odd ball

The ball has a built-in sensor, but the company isn’t using it, founder and CEO Pasquale Totaro told TechCrunch. But with a new update, the startup is now using the sensor.

“The hardware initially had a motion sensor that we didn’t use at all, it was just there. The idea was to roll out a new firmware later and make it come to life. That’s where we are now. It took a lot of R&D to make it possible Unlock all features. Imagine a trackpad that only recognizes clicks…now it also has the ability to zoom, pinch, drag, pan, etc.,” Totaro told TechCrunch via email.

He mentioned that the team had to put in a lot of effort to distinguish one gesture from another.

company

Odd Ball started with a Kickstarter campaign in 2018, and the company began selling the first version in November 2020. Totaro said the startup wants to make the process of making music easy and fun. Humans’ instinctive play with the ball is one way to achieve this, he said.

“Everyone already knows how to bounce, shake, and pitch, and all of these movements are naturally already musical and rhythmic. This quality of the ball actually breaks down the initial hurdle that music lovers have to overcome when trying to learn an instrument, device, or software Learning disabilities,” he said.

multiple odd balls

Image Source: Odd ball

The company has sold more than 25,000 devices, with children and music lovers being the main buyers. While Odd Ball hasn’t raised any institutional funding, it has a number of advisors on its board. These include Glass Direct founder and Google executive Jamie Murray Wells; Ali Mostoufi, whose startup me.com Inc. was acquired by Apple in 2008; former EMI and Warner Bros. Records executive Ted Cohen; and digital media company Roy Burstin, former CEO of Mitu.

Totaro said the company is already profitable and hopes to expand its product line with two devices in development. Odd Ball is developing a version of the ball with multiple RGB LEDs to enable a new dimension of interactivity.

Its gesture technology is adaptable and is looking to expand to other form factors as well. It is worth noting that Totaro said that Odd Byall is building the ability to make everyday objects useful in the XR/VR field.

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