Specdrums Rings Turn Color Into Sound With A Drum Kit At Your Fingertips

By: Hannah Oreskovich

When Steven Dourmashkin first went away to college at Cornell University, there was one thing he couldn’t pack up and bring with him to his dorm room: his drum kit. After two years of design and product development, nine major iterations, and one issued patent, Dourmashkin, who is now a PhD candidate at CU Boulder in Aerospace Engineering, finally developed a solution. Meet Specdrums: 

Specdrums, a simple and comfortable ring you wear on your fingers, turn colors into sound, “allowing you to tap on different shades to create an infinite combination of tunes.” That’s right- whether you cover your dorm room in post it notes, tap your clothes on your coffee break, or head to Boulder Creek for a sound sesh like Steven did in the video above, Specdrums will register colors with sound you tap out, all while fitting in your pocket. You can also record your sounds and share them with others, who can add or listen to the tracks, all through the Specdrums app. And the rings can be connected to Garage Band or Ableton, giving those more experienced in music and tech a chance to further produce the compositions they create, and leading us to ask, "Where's that Specdrums sample at?!"

Steven Dourmashkin.

Steven Dourmashkin.

Said Dourmashkin, “Growing up as a drummer, I would tap on everything whenever I was away from my drum set. I was determined to create the most portable drumming machine, capable of turning my taps into real percussion sounds. But what we’ve created is more than just a drumming tool- it’s a new instrument that makes musical creation in general more accessible, welcoming, and fun.”



Specdrums recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund further production of the rings- they’ve raised close to 81k (their goal was 15k) with about 930 backers at the time of this publication, and they still have two weeks to go on the campaign.

Needless to say, CU Boulder’s Steven Dourmashkin is on to something, and thanks to him, you may soon have that much needed drum kit at your fingertips…

Read more on Specdrums here.


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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.