One of the big problems with practicing stick skills and rhythm routines is that you have to choose your time and your place carefully. If you feel like bashing the living daylights out of your full kit at one o'clock in the morning, at the very least you risk upsetting your neighbors. You could tap out your frustration on a tabletop and have a smartphone create drum sounds or make use of motion tracking to translate your mid-air stick waving into MIDI percussion sounds. But neither has quite the same feel as striking a drum head with wood or pumping your legs piston-like to pound out some kick. French startup Drumistic believes that its sensor-based system offers a more natural, accessible and fun drumming experience.
Work on the Drumistic project began in 2015, with the first prototype arriving early the following year. More prototypes and a smartphone app followed, and plans for production have spawned a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. The setup is made up of two parts – wireless sensors that attach to real drumsticks or are placed on the player's feet and a smartphone app that ties everything together.
The thumbdrive-sized sensor slides over any classic drumstick when encased in a black jacket sporting a loop to the bottom. A naked sensor can also be attached to a foot using an elasticated band. The sensors register movement and transfer data over Bluetooth to a companion iOS/Android app running on a smart device.
The app divides the area in front of the player into custom hit zones, which are mapped to different drum sounds output via the smartphone – in essence, drummers could have a cushion serve as a hi-hat to the left, coasters on a coffee table out front act like toms and snare and foot sensors used to sound double kicks.
Players can record a session without needing set up a full kit or even break out the microphones, and the app is reported capable of transcribing Drumistic jams into sheet music for you to share with your orchestra.
Stick antics could even sync up with personalized lessons running on a smartphone, with the app reported to have hundreds of lessons and exercises pre-installed, and will offer playing tips at the conclusion of each training session.
The Kickstarter campaign runs until May 13, with pledges starting at €119 (US$125). If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in March next year. Have a look at the pitch video below to see the system in action.
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