Spotlight on: Ototo

A brand-new project that you won’t want to miss at Maker Faire UK this year is Ototo.

Ototo (from the Japanese phrase for ‘little brother’) is an all-in-one musical invention kit from London based creative design start-up Dentaku Ltd. It allows you to make instruments in your own way, limited only by your imagination.

See Ototo in action:

Ototo is based around an experimental Printed Circuit Board (or PCB) and uses 12 touch sensitive keys arranged in the familiar pattern of an octave on a keyboard.  The pitch, volume and texture of sounds can be modified via 4 sensor inputs; a loudspeaker and headphone input are also included alongside battery and USB power options.

The real fun starts when you attach crocodile clips to the keys – because the touch pads are capacitive, any electrically conductive objects can be connected to the PCB and used to trigger sounds. You could make a musical aubergine or build the rock-god guitar of your dreams from cardboard and tin foil.

Dentaku has produced seven different sensors to allow you to take your instrument to the next level. These include a potentiometer slider, light dependent resistor and force sensor. Our favourite is the breath sensor – the harder you blow, the bigger the change in sound. A synthesized saxophone made from an old drainpipe is just one DIY possibility using Ototo but there are endless different combinations of objects and sensors.


Ototo’s creators seek to bridge the gap between ordinary people and electronics whilst fostering more personal musical experiences. Dentaku co-founder Yuri Suzuki said: ‘We wanted to create a kit that makes physical computing and interactive projects accessible for everyone. Getting into coding and understanding electronics can be a barrier for creativity, Ototo allows anyone to build amazing electronic sound projects with minimal knowledge.’

Fresh from a successful KickStarter funding campaign, Dentaku will be bringing the first production models of Ototo to Maker Faire UK on 26 and 27 April for you to play with. What instrument will you make?

2 Responses to Spotlight on: Ototo

  1. I also invented an app that can convert something into an instrument by image analysis, but Ototo is more cool.

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