Edinburgh tech firm Skoogmusic launches iPhone accessory

AN EDINBURGH-based music tech firm has launched an iPhone accessory that allows people to make music through online programs.

The Skwitch clips onto the iPhone and has a soft, expressive control button that connects users to programs so they can jam with songs, compose and mix tunes, or connect wirelessly to apps like GarageBand, a digital studio which includes instruments and presets for guitar and voice.

The £45 gadget has been launched by Skoogmusic, the spin-out company behind the Skoog, a tactile musical cube initially developed to help children with disabilities and learning difficulties, which has been integrated by Apple into its own software platforms.

The Skwitch button can be programmed and customised into multiple active areas to perform a range of different actions.

Read more: Music tech spin-out in £5m funding drive

Dr Benjaman Schögler, Skoogmusic co-founder and chief executive, said: “Skoogmusic’s mission is to help people have fun making music.

“After the success of Skoog, we thought there was a gap for a smaller, lighter, more compact device for iPhone, and after years of development, we’re so excited to be launching Skwitch to the global market.

“It’s deceptively simple, but incredibly clever in the way it can open up a world of music and coding to everyone, as well as working as an accessibility gadget for all sorts of apps and programs.

“It’s also affordable and really simple to use, and after some brilliant first feedback, we can’t wait to see how the world’s iPhone users will put it to use.”

https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/16905266.edinburgh-tech-firm-skoogmusic-launches-iphone-accessory/

Skoogmusic puts the power of music creation in everyone’s hands

Our Start-up of the Week is Edinburgh-based Skoogmusic, creator of a pocket-sized device that turns any smartphone owner into a music maker.

“We make technology that lets anyone create music, regardless of their level of skill or training,” said Skoogmusic co-founder and CEO Dr Benjaman Schögler.

https://www.siliconrepublic.com/start-ups/skoogmusic-scotland-edinburgh-music-gadget

Skoog: the disability-friendly musical instrument

Making music can be a form of self-expression or a way to relax, and musical therapy is a great way for anyone with a disability to communicate. Commended for its inclusivity, Skoog has been created as a musical instrument everyone can play.

Once synced with the Skoog app on your phone or iPad, the device allows you to create music. Play along with your favourite songs and learn different music notes all by using the four coloured buttons on the device.

Accessibility

Although Skoog can be used by anyone, it has been specifically designed to help those with disabilities and learning difficulties: it’s autism-friendly. Its use of colour, its soft, foam-like exterior and a visual based app make this possible.

Within the Skoog app you can select which instrument you want to play and in what key. Each coloured button then corresponds to a different chord or sound, allowing you to explore different sounds and make your own music.

The sensitivity of buttons can be changed to suit a wide range of physical abilities and use with different body parts. The volume and pitch of notes can also be adjusted from the app.

Using apps

Alternatively, you can learn how to play your favourite songs using the Skoog app for iPad. Simply click on the music tab and your music library will appear. You can then choose a song and the Skoog app will tell you which colour to press on the device to play the song yourself. We had great fun playing it.

Other apps like Garageband and Skoog Skratch can also be synced with your Skoog to unleash your inner rockstar or DJ.

http://enablemagazine.co.uk/skoog-review-the-musical-instrument-for-everyone/

To infinity and beyond… Skoogmusic goes global!

Skoogmusic was founded in 2009 by Dr Benjaman Schögler and Dr David Skulina at the University of Edinburgh during an educational research project that aimed to address the lack of musical instruments designed for children with physical or learning disabilities. Now approaching its 10th anniversary, MUSIC:ED asked Ben Schögler about the organisation’s latest developments.


https://musiceducation.global/infinity-and-beyond-skoogmusic-goes-global/

How Ben hit the right note with unique musical instrument business

The 42-year-old from Edinburgh tells us about his working day as co-founder of Skoogmusic.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/money/how-ben-hit-right-note-11952203

Skoogmusic secures £560k for scale-up strategy

Business helps children learn, explore and have fun with music.

Edinburgh-based tech business Skoogmusic has announced its largest funding round to date, with £560,000 secured from the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, Old College Capital, and a number of private investors.

The inventors of the Skoog, the interactive cube for children to learn, explore and have fun making music, will use the investment to fund an international sales and marketing drive following deals with distribution partners in Europe and the US.

As the company scales up its operation, company co-founder Ben Schogler will step into the role of Skoogmusic CEO with tech industry stalwart Andy Gordon established as Chairman. One of the round’s investors, seasoned private equity investor Paul Murray, will join the company as a non-executive director.

The eight year old business also plans to extend the Skoog product family, developing and launching new entry level hardware next year so that more people can access Skoogmusic technology. The company will continue to develop its apps across coding, sampling and creative music making, translating them into eight languages for international markets.

The new investment means that Skoogmusic has raised a total of £2m to date. The business has also been successful on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, where it raised over £50k in presales for Skoog 2.0.

Dr Benjaman Schögler commented: “This is another hugely exciting step for Skoog. The investment enables us to work with Apple and partners like Ingram Micro and TechData to reach more children in more countries around the world. It’s not what you play that’s important but it is crucial that you do play. And this investment means more play and more music for everyone.”

Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank added: “It’s great to see the Skoog product being sold internationally and being recognised as a truly innovative musical instrument. This is a key sector for the Scottish economy and we look forward to helping the company achieve its growth ambitions.”

Andrea Young, fund manager at Old College Capital, the in-house venture capital fund of the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are very proud to support the ongoing global success of Skoogmusic, a business that was founded and nurtured in its early days, right here at the University of Edinburgh. We wish the team and their pioneering product every success for this exciting next phase of the journey.”

For original article, please follow this link.

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/ebf/news/article/2380/skoogmusic_secures_560k_for_scale-up_strategy

Skoogmusic secures £560,000 for its scale-up strategy in Europe and the US

Edinburgh-based Skoogmusic has announced its largest funding round to date – with £560,000 secured from the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, and from Old College Capital and a number of private investors.

http://futurescot.com/skoogmusic-secures-560000-scale-strategy/

Skoogmusic on song with £560,000 fundraising

Skoogmusic, which makes an interactive cube to help children learn about and play music, has completed its largest funding round to date, with £560,000 secured from Scottish Investment Bank, Old College Capital, and a number of private investors.

The inventors of the Skoog, which is already sold in Apple stores worldwide, will use the investment to fund an international sales and marketing drive following deals with two new global distribution partners: Tech Data in Europe and Ingram Micro in the US. The new investment means that Skoogmusic has raised a total of £2 million to date.

As the company scales up its operation, company co-founder Dr Benjaman Schögler will step into the role of CEO, with tech industry stalwart Andy Gordon established as Chairman. One of the round’s investors, seasoned private equity investor Paul Murray, will join the company as a Non-Executive Director.

Exciting step

Dr Schögler said: “This is another hugely exciting step for Skoog. The investment enables us to work with Apple and partners like Ingram Micro and TechData to reach more children in more countries around the world. It’s not what you play that’s important but it is crucial that you do play. And this investment means more play and more music for everyone.”

The business, which was spun out of the University of Edinburgh in 2009 with the help of Edinburgh Innovations, plans to extend the Skoog product family, developing and launching new entry level hardware in 2018 so that more people can access Skoogmusic technology. The company will continue to develop its apps across coding, sampling and creative music making, translating them into eight languages for international markets.

Andrea Young, Fund Manager at Old College Capital, said: “We are very proud to support the ongoing global success of Skoogmusic, a business that was founded and nurtured in its early days right here at the University of Edinburgh. We wish the team and their pioneering product every success for this exciting next phase of the journey.”

Apple sales

Skoog currently retails in Apple stores as part of the tech giant’s innovative education programmes. This includes the multi-sensory Apple Field Trips – creative learning workshops hosted for teachers and students in stores around the world; and the pioneering Apple Distinguished Educators, who showcase how technology can transform education to global audiences.

Skoog is also one of the devices connected to Apple’s educational coding app Swift Playgrounds, offering an exciting way to learn to code using robots, drones and Skoog.

The business has also been successful on the pioneering tech crowdfunding site Indiegogo, where it raised more than £50,000 in presales for Skoog 2.0.

Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank added: “It’s great to see the Skoog product being sold internationally and being recognised as a truly innovative musical instrument. This is a key sector for the Scottish economy and we look forward to helping the company achieve its growth ambitions.”

https://edinburgh-innovations.ed.ac.uk/2018/01/09/skoogmusic-on-song-with-560000-fundraising/

SkoogMusic Scores £560K Investment

The company behind the innovative instrument, which puts music creation into the hands of everyone, has raised its largest funding round to date.

SkoogMusic Scores £560K Investment

Edingburgh-based tech business Skoogmusic,

Has announced its largest funding round to date, with £560,000 secured from the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, Old College Capital, and a number of private investors.

http://www.bqlive.co.uk/scotland/2017/12/20/news/skoogmusic-secures-560k-for-scale-up-strategy-29640/

Founders Series – Dr Ben Schögler, CEO and Co-Founder of Skoogmusic

Founders Series – Dr Ben Schögler, CEO and Co-Founder of Skoogmusic

Skoogmusic secures £560k of funding for scale up strategy

The Edinburgh-based firm which has invented an interactive cube for children to learn, explore and enjoy making music, will use cash to fund an international sales drive

https://www.insider.co.uk/news/skoogmusic-secures-560k-funding-scale-11728030

Skoogmusic raises funds for global drive

Educational toy developer Skoogmusic has secured £560,000 from the Scottish Investment Bank, Old College Capital, and a number of private investors.

The inventors of the Skoog, an interactive cube for children to learn, explore and have fun making music, will use the investment to fund an international sales and marketing drive following deals with two new global distribution partners: Tech Data in Europe and Ingram Micro in the US.

As the Edinburgh-based company scales up its operation, company co-founder Ben Schogler will step into the role of Skoogmusic CEO with tech industry stalwart Andy Gordon as chairman. One of the round’s investors, seasoned private equity investor Paul Murray, will join the company as a non-executive director.

The eight-year-old business also plans to extend the Skoog product family, developing and launching new entry level hardware next year so that more people can access Skoogmusic technology.

The company will continue to develop its apps across coding, sampling and creative music making, translating them into eight languages for international markets.

The new investment means that Skoogmusic has raised a total of £2 million to date. The business has also been successful on the pioneering tech crowdfunding site Indiegogo, where it raised over £50,000 in presales for Skoog 2.0.

Dr Benjaman Schögler commented: “This is another hugely exciting step for Skoog. The investment enables us to work with Apple and partners like Ingram Micro and TechData to reach more children in more countries around the world.”

Skoogmusic raises funds for global drive

8 ingenious innovations helping autistic children communicate

8. The musical cube designed for social play

Skoog is an accessible, tactile cube that enhances social interactions for autistic children through music and play. The device connects to an iPad and allows kids to start creating music immediately, without any lessons or prior knowledge.

While it was designed to facilitate music therapy, the gadget can also help bridge communication gaps between autistic and non-autistic people, giving autistic children a sensory-friendly experience that calms nerves and encourages interaction at the same time.

http://mashable.com/2017/04/09/autism-innovations/#08Z3l0s98iq5

Scott Wright: Skoog shows tech sector is alive and kicking

SCOTLAND’S reputation for producing successful tech start-ups has been greatly enhanced in recent years, with companies such as Skyscanner and FanDuel reaching global prominence from ideas carefully nurtured on these shores. And, while few companies born in Scotland are likely to scale such heights, it is encouraging that the country continues to produce start-ups offering genuine technological innovation.

Skoogmusic is one such example. Originally conceived as a device to help children with profound disabilities engage with music, the founders of the University of Edinburgh spin-out have discovered the technology has the potential to reach a much wider audience. That has been recognised by the Californian tech giant Apple, which now stocks the Skoog cube in 150 of its stores, as well as online.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/opinion/15367848.Scott_Wright__Skoog_shows_tech_sector_is_alive_and_kicking/

What applications could this unusual control surface have for the studio or stage musician?

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/skoogmusic-skoog

Skoog 2.0 brings wireless connectivity to the multi-use educational musical instrument

“The key was to create an instrument for all children,” explains Skoog co-inventor Dr. Ben Schögler. “That includes kids with disabilities, whether physical or learning disabilities. It was made to be an inclusive instrument, because musical instruments are beautiful, they’re fantastic, but they’re difficult to play.”

Born out of Edinburg University in 2006, with help from funding by the U.K.’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Skoog is a small, squishy musical instrument that’s simple by design.

“A lot of electronic instruments are really just versions of their acoustic counterpart,” says Schögler. “But if the computer is making the sound, the interface can be anything you want. We stripped it back and were looking for an object that’s intuitive enough to be used without having to be explained.”

Skookg

The result is a small cube with five sides monopolized by big, brightly colored half-circles, buttons that serve as a sort of analog to a string or piano key, triggering sounds determined by a connected computer, not unlike a MIDI controller.

The company launched the first Skoog in 2012, after receiving an initial VC round two years prior. It was strange and somewhat rudimentary, but the product’s simplicity landed it on the radar of classrooms — special education departments in particular. To date, the first-generation product has a user base of around 2,000, a modest number, but enough to have gained the notice of Apple, which began promoting it as an accessibility device through its retail channels.

Group_3

That same year, the company began work on a new version of the product, swapping the USB for wireless, as part of an attempt to embrace the growing use of iPads in special education curriculums.

In late 2015, Skoog took the product to Indiegogo, raising funding for the 2.0 version, which, along with the aforementioned wireless connectivity also features in-app integration with music services like iTunes and Spotify. The app automatically recognizes and matches the song’s key, so users can play alongside it.

The Skoog 2.0 hits retail stores today for $300, bringing with it the promise of potential use cases outside of the educational world. Schögler points to retirement communities that have experimented with the device for use with patients suffering from dementia. And then, of course, there’s the occasional intentionally awkward viral video hit.

The company is also exploring avenues outside of music. “It is a tactile, multidimensional controller,” says Schögler. “It could be used for things like gaming, but that requires us to get the API out. We’re a small firm and we’ve been working on the app, but we’ll be looking to release that as soon as we can. “

https://techcrunch.com/2016/05/05/skoog-2-0/?guccounter=1

Skoogmusic announces Skoog 2.0 “multi-dimensional” MIDI controller

The squidgy musical cube is back

https://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/skoogmusic-announces-skoog-2-0-multi-dimensional-midi-controller-610079

New Skoog electronic instrument makes its mark on global musical accessibility

Skoogmusic has announced the commercial launch of Skoog 2.0, now retailing globally with Apple Inc.

Skoog 2.0 comes with a host of exciting new features, including the ability to play wirelessly via a new App for iPhone and iPad, as well as integration with iTunes and Spotify to allow users to play along with their favourite tunes. Development of the new Skoog was funded in part by a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised more than £50,000 in 2015.

Skoog is a hand-sized cube, built on the principle that technology products should be accessible as standard. Its revolutionary soft, tactile design provides a level playing field for people of all ages and abilities to be able to make music.

“There is a misconception that ‘accessibility’ refers to something that is only for people who are disadvantaged in some way, but in reality an accessible product is one that has been designed for everyone,” said Skoog co-inventor, Dr Ben Schögler. “In the same way that smartphones have been designed to make communication as easy as possible, we have developed Skoog 2.0 to provide an easy way for anyone to make and play music.”

Touching, pressing, squashing, or twisting Skoog’s five colour-coded sides allows users to play a wide range of electronic sounds via the App or using other MIDI compatible Apps.

Accessibility is of particular importance in education, where inclusivity and breaking down barriers for children are vital to ensuring equal opportunities for expression and creativity.

“Skoog 2.0 is an absolutely amazing piece of hardware – it is the instrument that we’ve always dreamed of,” said Craig Smith, Apple Distinguished Educator and Deputy Principal at Autism Spectrum Australia.

“The fact that it allows such immediate sensory, tactile input, to explore sound in such concrete ways in interaction with the iPad makes it the most accessible music instrument out there. I love Skoog, and our journey with it has only just begun.”

https://rekkerd.org/new-skoog-electronic-instrument-makes-its-mark-on-global-musical-accessibility/

Skoog on BBC Reporting Scotland – 15th March 2011

Skoog and Swift Playgrounds

On June 1st Apple announced the latest update to Swift Playgrounds – a revolutionary iPad app from Apple that makes learning to code fun and interactive.

The news about Swift also featured at WWDC 2017 Platforms State of the Union session.

Watch the video. (Skoog features from around 4mins 45 seconds)

Swift Playgrounds now supports connection to Skoog. With Swift Playgrounds and Skoog, users around the world can learn and apply fundamental coding skills to program, control and make music with Skoog. With specialized lessons for iPad, Skoog and Swift Playgrounds allow students to write code and see it come to life in the physical world.  Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language created by Apple for building apps for iOS, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. It makes programming easier, more flexible, and more fun.

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/06/swift-playgrounds-expands-coding-education-to-robots-drones-and-musical-instruments/

Breaking News! MIDEM 2017

Skoogmusic has been unveiled as one of 20 young music businesses to reach the 2017 shortlist of Midemlab – the world’s leading music startup competition which is part of the renowned Midem music industry conference hosted each year in Cannes.

With alumni including Soundcloud and Kickstarter, this prestigious ‘hotlist’ is picked by some of the music industry’s leading figures and features the 20 most promising and innovative businesses that are breaking new ground for consumers’ experience of music. A finalist in the ‘music creation and education’ category, the Skoogmusic team will pitch to judges – including Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda – on 7th June with winners being announced at Midem’s prestigious gala dinner for 200 international music industry decision makers that evening.

Commenting on the announcement, Co-Founder Dr Benjaman Schögler, now the company’s Creative Director, said:

‘To find ourselves on the shortlist of this year’s Midemlab  is an incredible honour, given the calibre of the competition’s judging panel and of the businesses that have made it on to this shortlist in the past. We are now stepping up our efforts to take the Skoog message and experience to the global stage in what is set to be a transformative year for our business.’

Breaking News!

Skoog to Feature in New ‘Field Trips’ at Apple stores around the world.
Starting in April, Apple stores will offer two new Field Trip sessions globally with a fun and inclusive musical instrument for iPad called a Skoog.

http://www.apple.com/uk/retail/fieldtrip/

Last year Apple hosted over 50,000 field trips in their 485 retail stores across the world and in April 2017 Apple updated its retail Field Trip landing page to include Skoog. Apple stores will offer two new Field Trip sessions globally with the cubic musical instrument created especially for kids by the Edinburgh based startup Skoogmusic ltd. Skoog is a musical instrument anyone can play – watch the video here.

Parents and teachers or anyone interested in learning more can reach out to their local Apple Store and request a Skoog Field Trip. http://www.apple.com/retail/fieldtrip/ 
These new sessions are in addition to accessibility workshops already offered globally covering: vision, hearing, physical motor, and literacy and learning topics.

Skoog 2.0 is available to purchase online on the Apple Store and from retailers and distributors around the world. To find a distributor or retailer in your area visit our where to buy pages. To find out more about Skoog check out the links below:

Skoog User Stories

Some example of Skoog being used across different situations – in education, by a young musician with Williams Syndrome and in music therapy with autistic children:

Images

Skoog with yellow side facing out.
Skoog - Yellow Side
Skoog - Blue Side
Skoog with red side facing out.
Skoog - Red Side
Skoog with green side facing out.
Skoog - Green Side
Side view of Skoog
Skoog - Side View 1
Side view of Skoog - yellow / blue
Skoog - Side View 2
Skoog with iPad
Skoog with iPad
Skoogmusic App for iOS
Skoog App for iOS
Skoog - Suitable for a wide range of disabilities
Group of children playing Skoog
Girl & boy playing Skoog
Close up hands on Skoog

Videos

Product

More videos, interviews and performances on Skoogmusic’s Vimeo and Youtube Channels.

Skoog in Action

The Digital Orchestra is a group of talented young musicians with disabilities who meet up at Drake Music Scotland’s studios every week to rehearse, develop their musical skills and create new music using inclusive music technologies.

Background Press
TechCrunch
BBC Coverage
Original Skoog Project