When I first saw a demo of Phonotonic, I was skeptical. The French startup then let me play with it for a few minutes, I started enjoying moving my arms around and listening to the sound that would come out of them.
At heart, Phonotonic is a simple device. It connects through WiFi to your phone or tablet and it has the same kind of sensors that you can find in a smartphone. It comes in a silicon sphere, but you can put the sensor into any object, including your pocket.
When you launch the companion app, you select the rhythm and the main line, and it’s done. You can dance around with two spheres to hear yourself play some good chiptune music, jazz music, rock and roll and more.
The team has been working on this device for two years, and you can hear it in the sound bank. It sounds very natural. If you move faster or slower, you can feel the music change. Finally, you can play music with a friend by giving them one of the two devices.
Two spheres on Kickstarter currently cost $199. The startup is looking for $70,000 and has been able to raise $13,000 so far.
This slow campaign is probably due to the nature of the device. You have to try it to understand it. Moreover, the company is currently working on more apps to follow Sphero‘s model, but the first one looks more like a proof of concept than an actual game. So if the company is able to create a nice ecosystem around these sensors, it could become a nifty little interactive device to make some music if you are not the next Mozart.