Modular music instrument lets you create your own combination of strings, pads, and keys

A winner of this year’s Red Dot Design Concept Best of Best Award, Bitboard is an electronic instrument that presents an absolutely no-barriers approach to making music. With modular inputs that snap together to create the instrument, Bitboard lets you combine guitar strings, keys, pads, and even controls like faders to create the Frankenstein Musical Instrument of your choice. The underlying idea? Music-making is a creative process but it’s still fundamentally tactile… so it only makes sense to empower creators in various ways to create music how they see fit!

Designer: Chen Hsin Ju

Named after the fact that it’s an instrument that uses electronic music-making techniques as opposed to real acoustics, the Bitboard is a MIDI device with various input mechanisms. The instrument starts with an empty canvas, or fretboard that lets you mount modules onto it. The module ecosystem features various input devices, designed to offer different input styles. You’ve got keys, pads, strings, rings, sliders, and a whole variety of snap-on modules, giving you the ability to simultaneously shred on a guitar, play airy electronic synths, or even mix samples and loops with turntable-inspired modules and crossfaders/sliders. “The surface texture is simplified from the instrument’s appearance and operational characteristics to provide players with intuitive tactile feedback”, says designer Chen Hsin Ju.

The board offers a little something for everyone. It can be used by novices looking to try their hand at multiple instruments without splurging on them, music aficionados, experts, street musicians, deejays, and even electronic music professionals. The board is easy and intuitive to use, and offers a few nifty features, including recording, volume adjustment, looping, and even wireless connectivity via Bluetooth so you can hook your Bitboard to a speaker or even your own computer. “Taking originality to a whole new level, Bitboard challenges stereotypes and opens up new possibilities for musical instruments, allowing one to explore interesting musical forms through creative combinations”, the designer mentions.

The Bitboard is a winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2022.