Connected Objects
Instrument 1 gets your groove on no matter how you play

The power of music apps have opened the door to a wide range of controllers — things that look like keyboards and disco floors and guitars. The incredible variety of sounds they offer when paired with the right software, however, pales in comparison to their relatively limited ways of producing those sounds.

That’s not the case for unfortunately named Instrument 1, a bold MIDI controller and musical instrument that allows mixing and matching of sounds and play methods. One can strum it like a guitar with its “digital strings” that don’t break, pluck it like a bass, tap it like a drum machine or play it a bit like a piano keyboard. There’s even a way to emulate guitar playing when used with an iPhone or watch. About the only traditional way of producing sound from an instrument that isn’t supported is blowing into it.

The compact Instrument 1 can run for about three hours off its built-in battery (alas, it uses too much juice to charge via USB) and i1s companion app  allows owners to define their own sounds. The versatility can keep backers’ hands occupied for $349 come January 2016. Artiphon  seeks $75,000 by April 12th. Curiously, particularly given how many organizations helped in the product’s development. the company is shying away from committing to producing more Instrument 1 units after fulfilling its Kickstarter obligations

The Instrument 1 is reminiscent of the Zivx Jamstik that was successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo back in 2014, but that product — while also portable and less expensive — is more focused on replicating a guitar experience on the go for learning and practice. But this latest MIDI-compatible plaything should evoke a lot of fun for newbies who want to experiment with different methods of producing music as well as experienced musicians who want something compact and versatile.

Arthur Tufeau is a contributor to Backerjack.