This charming little LED box called PocoPoco is a stand alone music instrument and sequencer designed by Takaharu Kanai from Tokyo Metropolitan University IDEEA Labs. It allows you to make music in an intuitively tactile way, not only by pressing the buttons (as you would on a keyboard or piano), but also by pulling, catching and spinning the cylindrical buttons to trigger variations in the sounds using the built-in solenoid actuators. The device is capable of creating and looping various sounds and melodies according to the different combination of commands. What’s new and interesting about the PocoPoco, and what separates it from similar synthesizers like the Tenori-On, is that the movement of each individual button can be programmed and automated.
Check out the guide to playing PocoPoco on the IDEEA Labs website. This little box can be used for composition, live performance, or even as a simple game device (remember Simon? Well this is Simon on steroids). More than anything though, the development of devices like this one seems emblematic of a larger, deep seated yearning to bring the immaterial world of digital music back into the realm of physicality. It’s less a matter of nostalgia and more a desire to connect with something tangible and real, and with it’s fun, quirky push-button interface, PocoPoco does exactly that.