These Devices Can Turn Anything Into a Musical Instrument. Anything.

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 12 2014 2:00 PM

These Devices Can Turn Anything Into a Musical Instrument. Anything.

Any surface a Mogees can stick on can be a musical instrument.

Photo by Mogees.

It's great that so many beverage companies are trying to seem more deluxe, environmentally conscious, retro, or all three, because it means that there are more glass bottles around in different shapes and sizes. And more glass bottles means more bottle organs. Which means more found music.

But if you want to take that to another level (and hoard fewer bottles), you can turn basically anything into an electronic instrument using Mogees.


A Mogees can be stuck to or placed on different surfaces. It uses a contact microphone and a circuit board combined with an iOS or Android app to turn vibrations (from a tap or hit) into sounds. The Mogees plugs into a phone's headphone jack and draws all the power it needs from there. The app allows users to control the sound and enter different modes, in which they can improvise freely or work off of presets.

The materials in an object plus its surface texture and weight all contribute to the types of vibrations, and by extension sounds, that a Mogees produces. There's no set limit to where you can put the device, and it can even interact with real-time action if it's placed on a surface that is touched or tapped intermittently over the course of the action, like a juggler who bounces balls off the ground as part of his act.

Mogees' Kickstarter runs through to March 19 and is at almost 70,000 pounds (about $115,000). The campaign's original goal was 50,000 pounds, but it now has a stretch goal of 75,000 pounds to make "Junior Mogees" that are designed for pre-schoolers and incorporate presets for things like children's songs or nursery rhymes. Creator Bruno Zamborlin told the Verge that the first iOS units should ship in August. Six days left to get in on the infinite music.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.



The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?