Ototo DIY synth kit lets you build your own electronic instrument

Dentaku's Ototo is a DIY synthesizer kit that's been bubbling under for a while now, and is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. With a barebones, cassette-tape sized synth board at its core, the theory is that it can be used by anyone, regardless of their electronics experience, and form the basis of any kind of electronic instrument that you can imagine.

The board features a musical keyboard and, using crocodile clips, you can connect up its notes to any conductive materials. These can then be used to trigger sounds, which can be changed by connecting electronic modules to the four sensor inputs. One example given is that you could use a light sensor to control pitch.

Ototo features a built-in synth and sampler. The synth is monophonic and comes with amplitude and modulation envelopes, an LFO and a low-pass filter. The sampler can play back one-shots that are stored in flash memory, and you can change their pitch. You can also use Ototo as a MIDI controller.

Yuri Suzuki, co-founder of Dentaku says: "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."

You can find out more about the project on the Ototo Kickstarter page, where a £45 pledge will get you one Ototo board, 12 crocodile clips and an illustrated guide. Higher pledges will get you more gear, including sensors.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.