Sphero acquires Boulder music-tech startup

Children play with Specdrums, an app-enabled ring that connects musical notes to colors and allows users to play music by tapping with the ring on colors. Specdrums, based in Boulder, was acquired by fellow Boulder company, Sphero. (Photo courtesy Specdrums)

BOULDER — Sphero, the maker of connected toys and devices, has acquired another Boulder-based company, Specdrums.

Specdrums is a music-tech startup founded in 2016 that offers app-controlled rings worn on a user’s finger that turn color into sound when tapped. Users assign notes to colors via the Specdrums mobile app, then use the ring to play notes when it’s tapped on and senses those colors. The ring can be connected to music-making software. The app itself is also open-sourced, so users can create their own Specdrums app to make their own games, aids for color-blindness and other uses.

With the acquisition, Sphero said it plans to launch a new version of Specdrums — which has sold out after a successful $200,000 Kickstarter campaign — later this year or early next year.

“By partnering with Sphero, Specdrums will be able to reach even more classrooms and young musicians across the world,” Specdrums CEO Steven Dourmashkin said in a prepared statement. “We’ll now have some of the best resources needed to make a strong impact on education, creativity, and play.”

In addition to app-enabled toys such as Star Wars droids, Sphero also specializes in educational toys that help young people learn skills such as coding. Sphero’s goal is to grow STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math — education while making it fun.

“We firmly believe that play is a powerful teacher. With the addition of Specdrums, we are strengthening the ‘A’ in STEAM in our product roadmap,” Paul Berberian, CEO of Sphero, said in a prepared statement. “With Sphero’s infrastructure and the groundwork that the Specdrums founders have already completed, we believe there’s a huge opportunity to continue to inspire curiosity in classrooms and beyond.”