Zen-sational keyboard strikes chord at $12.8M

The Seaboard GRAND (Courtesy: ROLI YouTube)
The Seaboard GRAND (Courtesy: ROLI YouTube)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A completely new type of keyboard musical instrument has scored $12.8 million in financial backing already, something TechCrunch says is a rarity and also one of the largest ever investments ion a music hardware company.

The Seaboard GRAND, made by ROLI, has soft rubber keys that can bend and shape a note.

“With the Seaboard, you can continuously adjust the volume and timbre of each note with the subtlest changes in pressure. Press harder and the note crescendos, soften your touch and the note will soften to match,” says ROLI’s website. “And with individual volume response to each note, the dynamics it enables are as expressive as they are intuitive.”

It’s like a harp, xylophone and piano rolled into one.

TechCrunch says it works in the same way you can bend the strings on a guitar but is “a genuinely radical departure from normal keyboards.”

And while that’s great, TechCrunch points out these usually aren’t considered “investable technology products.”

Still, with $12.8 million secured, “the Seaboard is but the first in a line of music hardware and software products that ROLI now plans to make.”

Insight into the keyboard’s unique sound may come from knowing more about ROLI CEO and Founder Roland Lamb.

About ROLI CEO and founder

After leaving school in the UK, Roland moved to Japan to practice Zen Buddhism.

He then moved on to Harvard University, and a degree in Classical Chinese and Sanskrit Philosophy.

This – naturally – led to an interest in technology and industrial design, so he won a scholarship to pursue an MA in Design Products at the Royal College of Art.

While at RCA, he invented an award-winning new approach to building pressure-sensing interfaces and ROLI was born.

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