British startup Vochlea Music is raising a seed funding round of £250k ahead of launching a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for its first product.

The company has created an artificial intelligence audio engine which can recognise human vocals, and use them to control instruments. For example, a beatboxer can trigger drum samples, or a musician can create basslines by humming.

CEO George Philip Wright revealed the plans at the Abbey Road Red incubator’s demo event in London last night. The Kickstarter campaign will take pre-orders for a ‘smart MIDI microphone’ that includes Vochlea’s audio engine.

YouTube video

Further out, Vochlea plans to optimise the technology for smartphones, so it can be embedded in a mobile peripheral.

“If you’ve got an idea for audio, for music, the easiest way to express it is the one instrument we’ve all had since birth and are competent at using: our voice,” said Wright as he pitched Vochlea’s tech.

“What if you had a technology that could understand these vocalisations, but could create the equivalent instrumentation. And what if it could do it in real-time, live?”

Here’s @inventorGeorge controlling a synth line by beatboxing, using the technology created by his startup @Vochlea pic.twitter.com/4LZBYf8pmp

— Music Ally (@MusicAlly) February 1, 2018

Wright said that Vochlea is putting the finishing touches to its mic before offering it to the crowd. “We need to do a bit more embedded-electronics design, but the software is ready to go, and the market is ready to buy it,” he said.

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