• Follow us

Gadgets

Roli’s newest instrument, the Lumi, helps you learn to play piano with lights – TechCrunch

There has been a longstanding gulf between the consumption of music and the creation of it: not everyone has the time or money to spend on lessons and instruments, and for those in school, many music education programs have been cut back over the years, making the option of learning to play instruments for free less common. Still others have had moments of interest but haven’t found the process of learning that easy.

Now we’re seeing a new wave of startups emerge that are attempting to tackle these issues with technology, creating tools and even new instruments that leverage smartphones and tablets, new hardware computing innovations and new software to make learning music more than just a pastime for a select few.

In the latest development, London startup Roli is launching a new interactive keyboard called the Lumi. Part colourful, sound-sensitive lightboard and part piano, the Lumi’s keys light up in a colorful array to help guide and teach you to play music. The 11-inch keyboard — which can be linked with one or two more of the same to add more octaves — comes with an iPad app that contains hundreds of pieces, and the two are now selling for $249 alongside a new Kickstarter to help drum up interest and offer early-bird discounts. The Kickstarter campaign blew through its modest £100,000 goal within a short while, and some of the smaller tiers of pledges are now sold out. The product will start shipping in October 2019, the company says.

As you might already know, or have guessed by the reaction to the kickstarter, this is not Roli’s first rodeo: the company has made two other major products (and variations on those two) before this, also aimed at music making. First came the Seaboard, which Roli described as a new instrument when it first launched. Taking the form factor of a keyboard, it contained squishy keys that let the player bend notes and create other effects alongside electronic-based percussive tapping, as you would do with a normal keyboard.

Its next product was Blocks: small, modular light boards that also used colored light to guide your playing and help you create new and interesting sounds and beats with taps (and using a similarly squidgy surface to the Seaboard) and then mix them together.

Both of these were interesting, but somewhat aimed at those who were already familiar with playing pianos or other instruments, or with creating and playing electronic music with synthesizers, FX processors and mixers. (Case in point: the people I know who were most interested in these were my DJ friends and my kids, who both play the piano and are a little nerdy about these things.)

The Lumi is in a way a step back for Roli from trying to break new ground by conceiving of completely new instruments, with new form factors built with the benefits of technology and electronics in mind. But it’s also a step ahead: using a keyboard as the basis of the instrument, the Lumi is more familiar and therefore more accessible — with an accessible price of $249 to go along with that.

Lumi’s emergence comes after an interesting few years of growth for Roli. The company is one of the select few (and I think the only one making musical instruments) to be retailed in Apple stores, and it’s had endorsements from some very high-profile people, but that’s about as mainstream as it has been up to now.

The startup’s founder and CEO, American-born Roland Lamb, is probably best described as a polymath, someone who comes across less as a geeky and nervous or (at the other end) ultra-smooth-talking startup founder, and more like a calm-voiced thinker who has come out to talk to you in a break between reading and writing about the nature of music and teaching a small philosophy seminar.

His background also speaks to this unconventional manner. Before coming to found Roli, he lived in a Zen monastery, made his way around the world playing jazz piano, and studied Chinese and Sanskrit at Harvard and design at the Royal College of Art.

Roli has always been a little cagey about how much it has raised and from whom, but the list includes consumer electronics giants like Sony, specialist audio makers like Onkyo, the music giant Universal Music Group and VCs that include Founders Fund, Index and LocalGlobe, Kreos Capital, Horizons Ventures and more. It’s also partnered with a number of big names like Pharrell Williams (who is also an investor) in the effort to get its name out.

And while it has most definitely made a mark with a certain echelon of the music world — producers and those creating electronic music — it has not parlayed that into a wider global reputation or wider accessibility. After bringing out instruments more for a high-end audience, the Lumi seems like an attempt to do just that.

That seems to be coming at the right time. Services like Spotify and YouTube — and the rise of phones and internet usage in general — have transformed how we listen to music. We now have a much wider array of things to listen to whenever we want. On top of that, services like YouTube and SoundCloud furthermore are giving us a taste of creating our own music: using electronic devices, we can go beyond what might have been limitations up to now (for example, having never learned to play an instrument in the traditional sense) to get stuck into the craft itself.

The Lumi is also tapping into another important theme, and that is of music being “good for you.” There is a line of thought that says learning an instrument is good for your mind, both if you’re a younger person who is still in school or indeed out of school and looking to stay sharp. Others believe it has health benefits.

But realistically, these beliefs don’t get applied very often. Roli cites stats that say that only 10% of adults aged 18-29 have played an instrument in the past year, and of those that played as children, some 80% say they quit by age 14.

Putting this together with the Lumi, it seems that the aim is to hit a wider swathe of the market and bring in people who might want to learn something like playing an instrument but previously thought it would be too much of a challenge.

Roli isn’t the first — nor likely the last — company to reconsider how to learn playing the piano through technology. The Chinese company ONE Music Group makes both smart pianos with keyboards that light up, as well as a strip that you overlay on any keyboard, that also corresponds to an iPad app to learn to play piano.

An American startup called McCarthy Music also makes illuminated-key pianos, also subscribing to the principle that providing this kind of guidance to teach muscle memory is an important step in getting a student acquainted with playing on a keyboard.

The Lumi is notable not just because of its cost, but its size — the single, lightweight keyboards have a battery life of six hours and can fit in a backback.

That said, Roli is hoping there will be a double audience to these in the longer term, bridging the divide between music maker and listener, but also amateur and pro.

“Many people would love to play an instrument but worry that they don’t have the talent. Through our research, design, and innovation at ROLI, we’ve come to believe that the problem is not a lack of talent. Rather, instruments themselves are not smart enough,” said Lamb in a statement. “What excites me most is that the intelligence of LUMI means that there’s something in it for everyone. On one hand my own kids now prefer LUMI time to movie time. On the other hand, several of the world’s leading keyboard players can’t wait to use LUMI in the studio and on the stage.”

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Digital Trends

The best movies on Amazon Prime Video right 2019-07-03 13:09:11Amazon Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be a major undertaking. Luckily,

Porsche Taycan battery pack has foot garages to 2019-07-03 12:59:11The Porsche Taycan electric car has indentations in its battery pack called foot garages. They're designed to move rear-seat passengers closer to the

The best Nintendo Switch exclusives 2019-07-03 12:56:16Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very

The best Xbox One exclusives you can get 2019-07-03 12:45:05Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusive

It’s not just you: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp 2019-07-03 12:42:00It's not just you: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp users have been reporting outages and problems with images since around 5:45 a.m. PT on Wednesda

Amazon drops $50 off of August smart lock 2019-07-03 12:39:06Smart locks are much more to difficult to tamper with compared to a set of keys that are easily duplicated. Take advantage of Amazon's deal on the Au

The best indie games on Nintendo Switch 2019-07-03 12:33:00The Nintendo Switch's portability makes indies feel at home on the platform. Luckily, there are plenty of great titles to choose from. Here are our p

Best Buy’s refurbished Apple Watch Series 4 GPS+Cellular 2019-07-03 12:26:50On Digital Trends' deals page we frequently post new deals on the Apple Watch. However, the current deal on a refurbished 40mm Gold Aluminum Case wit

Amazon offers $80 off the Apple Watch Series 2019-07-03 12:20:58From notifying you of your social media updates to tracking your outdoor activities, the Apple Watch Series 3 makes an ideal everyday companion. Get t

This electric mini McLaren will ensure your kid 2019-07-03 12:20:45McLaren is returning to the kiddy car segment with an electric, scaled-down version of the 720S. Developed for toddlers, the Ride-On toy is powered by

Apple secretly adds AR-powered FaceTime eye correction in 2019-07-03 11:56:38FaceTime is brilliant -- but because of the position of the camera, it's impossible to make conversations seem natural. The latest version of the iOS

Neuroscientists discover the part of the brain behind 2019-07-03 11:21:39Want to know why you're creeped out by CGI humans? Neuroscientists and psychologists have identified the exact part of the brain in which the 'uncan

Engadget RSS Feed

Good luck sliding into anyone's Twitter DMs right 2019-07-03 14:02:00Facebook isn't the only internet behemoth suffering from serious downtime. As of mid-day on July 3rd, Twitter is experiencing "some issues" with d

Mobile game streaming service Hatch is available in 2019-07-03 13:03:00When it comes to game streaming, it's not just the likes of Microsoft, Google and Sony who are trying to capture players' attention. There's a mobi

Blipblox is a synth made for kids that 2019-07-03 12:30:00 Blipblox is a synthesizer designed for children. The company behind it, Playtime Engineering, even calls it a toy. And it certainly looks lik

Canon is crowdfunding a tiny, rugged clip-on camera 2019-07-03 11:52:00Canon may be late to the clippable camera party, but it's still convinced it can bring something new to the table. The company is preparing a crowdf

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are struggling to stay 2019-07-03 11:23:00Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are experiencing outages this morning. Downdetector maps show the services are struggling around the globe, but the i

Netflix creates UK production hub at Disney's preferred 2019-07-03 11:04:00Netflix is setting up another big production hub, and this one is steeped in cinematic history. The streaming giant is establishing a 14-stage UK ope

D-Link agrees to 10-year security assessment to settle 2019-07-03 10:23:00D-Link has settled a two-year-old lawsuit filed by the FTC over its products' insufficient security, and it has agreed to a few conditions to put the

Sony's 230-Walkman exhibit celebrates 40 years of a 2019-07-03 10:00:00To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Walkman sold (the TPS-L2, naturally), Sony is showing off the history of the portable music player in c

Waymo will test its self-driving taxis on employees 2019-07-03 09:39:00Self-driving venture Waymo has been given permission by California authorities to transport people in its robotaxis. According to TechCrunch, the Cali

Amazon keeps Alexa transcripts unless you manually delete 2019-07-03 09:21:00Back in May, Amazon introduced a new Alexa feature that makes it easy to delete your voice history -- apparently, that could be pretty handy if you do

The best games for Nintendo Switch 2019-07-03 09:00:00Nintendo's Switch is on a roll. The youngest of the games consoles is punching above its weight with a mix of core Nintendo games that have pushed ic

The Morning After: Windows 1.0 is back and 2019-07-03 08:45:00Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. Yesterday's Orion test went off without a hitch, and we're sure that Samsung is hoping its Galaxy Fold can ev

WIRED

Mapping Apps for Camping and Hiking: AllTrails, Gaia, 2019-07-03 09:00:00Don't lose yourself out there. Download one of these trail mapping apps to make sure you can always find your way, whether you have cell service or n

REI 4th of July Sale: 13 Summer Outdoors 2019-07-03 08:00:00If you need a water bottle, tent, or a really cool hoodie, it's all on sale at REI's 4th of July Sale on outdoor apparel, accessories, and gear.

Caroline Criado Perez Explains the 'Gender Data Gap' 2019-07-02 13:54:57In this WIRED Q&A, author Caroline Criado Perez explains how elements of the modern world were designed more for men than women.

How to Take Photos of Fireworks With Your 2019-07-02 09:00:00Use these battle-tested tips and camera settings to capture dramatic photos of those explosions in the sky.

Microsoft’s Ebook Apocalypse, Facebook Drug Ads, and More 2019-07-01 18:22:00Catch up on the most important news from today in two minutes or less.

Why You Still Can’t Buy Fireworks on Amazon 2019-07-01 16:36:00The “everything store” might not cover all your Fourth of July celebration needs.

Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Review: A Cam and 2019-07-01 08:00:00Fujifilm's latest instant camera offers the best of both Instax worlds: It's an instant camera and printer in one.

The Second Coming of the Robot Pet 2019-07-01 07:00:00Man's best friend isn't a dog—it's a doglike robot, designed to perform tricks and tug at your heartstrings.

From Cameras to Kayaks, All the Stuff We 2019-06-30 10:00:00Plus: The all-new Mac Pro, Instant Pot's ace blender, and even a bidet.

Microsoft's Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of 2019-06-30 07:00:00Microsoft has closed its ebook store—and will soon make its customers' libraries disappear along with it.

How the iPhone Helped Save the Planet 2019-06-29 07:00:00Over the last 12 years, smartphones have helped dematerialize our consumption of countless other products.

All ThinkGeek Items Are 75% Off, Google Speakers 2019-06-29 07:00:00From a wood burning stove to the Bob Ross blanket, we scoured the web for the best deals this weekend.

Ars Technica » Gear

The Galaxy Note 10 launches August 7 2019-07-01 21:00:26Samsung's next big phone launch happens next month.

Report describing Jony Ive’s Apple exit gains a 2019-07-01 19:07:20The report claimed Ive was frustrated with the company's leadership.

PlayStation Vue applies a $5-a-month increase to all 2019-07-01 17:41:33The stage is set for messiness as more channels launch streaming options.

Samsung CEO calls Galaxy Fold launch failure “embarrassing” 2019-07-01 15:28:19"I pushed it through before it was ready," CEO says of the Galaxy Fold.

Catalyst deep dive: The future of Mac software 2019-07-01 07:30:51The people already using Catalyst tell Ars what Mac users and devs should expect.

Jony Ive will depart Apple to start his 2019-06-27 17:34:54Apple will be one of his new business' key clients, however.

Gmail’s API lockdown will kill some third-party app 2019-06-27 12:49:17Google emails users: "the following apps may no longer be able to access your data."

WireGuard on Windows early preview 2019-06-27 12:17:34WireGuard for Windows is still in pre-alpha, but it's looking very good.

Apple bolsters its chip team by hiring architect 2019-06-26 18:57:03The CPU-for-Macs rumor is bound to resurface, but nothing’s for sure still.

Oppo’s first under-display camera demo looks decidedly first-generation 2019-06-26 13:25:17Taking a picture through a display requires a "redesigned pixel structure."

Microsoft OneDrive gets a more secure Personal Vault, 2019-06-25 18:37:21Microsoft is adding a protected section to its cloud storage.

Apple updates Pages, Keynote, and Numbers with new 2019-06-25 17:09:02Face detection will now be used to intelligently position subjects in photos.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Team studies drone strikes on airplanes by firing 2019-07-01 17:52:58Bird strikes are a very real danger to planes in flight, and consequently aircraft are required to undergo bird strike testing — but what about

Startups at the speed of light: Lidar CEOs 2019-06-29 11:41:04As autonomous cars and robots loom over the landscapes of cities and jobs alike, the technologies that empower them are forming sub-industries of thei

Apple’s Sidecar just really *gets* me, you know? 2019-06-28 09:40:24With the rollout of Apple’s public beta software previews of macOS and the new iPadOS, I’ve finally been able to experience first-hand Sid

Police body-cam maker Axon says no to facial 2019-06-27 18:01:35Facial recognition is a controversial enough topic without bringing in everyday policing and the body cameras many (but not enough) officers wear thes

NASA’s Dragonfly will fly across the surface of 2019-06-27 17:20:37NASA has just announced its next big interplanetary mission: Dragonfly, which will deliver a Mars Rover-sized flying vehicle to the surface of Titan,

Tiny Robobee X-Wing powers its flight with light 2019-06-27 14:52:26We've seen Harvard's Robobee flying robot evolve for years: After first learning to fly, it learned to swim in 2015, then to jump out of the water a

Oppo shows first under-screen camera in bid to 2019-06-26 13:32:33Ever since the notch was first added to smartphones, everyone in the world except the deeply deluded and my editor have wished it gone. Oppo has done

This robot crawls along wind turbine blades looking 2019-06-24 16:17:51Wind turbines are a great source of clean power, but their apparent simplicity — just a big thing that spins — belie complex systems that

Apple just released the first iOS and iPadOS 2019-06-24 13:46:15This is your opportunity to get a glimpse of the future of iOS — and iPadOS. Apple just released the first public beta of iOS 13 and iPadOS

The Raspberry Pi Foundation unveils the Raspberry Pi 2019-06-24 02:01:51The Raspberry Pi 4 is here — and it’s an awesome upgrade. Earlier rumors said that it would take a while before a major Raspberry Pi upgra

Crowdfunded spacecraft LightSail 2 prepares to go sailing 2019-06-21 13:47:30Among the many spacecraft and satellites ascending to space on Monday's Falcon Heavy launch, the Planetary Society's LightSail 2 may be the most int

Hasselblad’s new medium format camera is a tiny, 2019-06-20 15:25:10While mirrorless cameras accelerate into the future, medium format models are hearkening unto the past — and Hasselblad chief among them. Its ne


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.