Attachable knobs for iPads are music to bedroom DJs’ ears (Wired UK)

Tuna Knobs can be attached to any apps that use radial sliders to control things like pitch, volume and gain

Tuna DJ Gear

Anatomy of a Tuna Knob

Tuna DJ Gear

Tablets are revolutionising music production and DJ
performances. But the absence of knobs to fiddle with seriously
harms their appeal to old pros and imprecise touchscreens
frequently turn flowing mixes into inelegant mash-ups. But what if
you could just stick one to the screen?

Tuna Knobs — spawned out of a small Dutch design
company, Tweetonig — are
small dials that attach to any capacitive surface and act as a
radial stylus. The soft-touch rubber grips surrounding the knobs
are actually conductive themselves, so the dial isn’t active until
the DJ’s fingers are on them. The rubber grips rotate around a
central axis, which attaches to the screen by suction cups, making
them easy to attach wherever the on-screen dial appears.

Many of electronic music’s top acts incorporate an iPad
somewhere in the plethora of devices surrounding their decks, but
bedroom DJs are also abandoning hardware entirely in favour of the
small form-factor and multi-functionality of tablets. The upside of
not having to lug heavy equipment everywhere is counteracted by the
lack of tactile feedback and often-messy and imprecise sliders. But
creator Samuel Verburg is hoping to duck that with the attachable

The Rotterdam team behind Tuna Knobs

Tuna DJ Gear

“The idea came from our intern and now founder, Samuel,”
Tweetonig founder John Tillema told “As a DJ and
interaction student he was triggerd by the mapping capabilities of
TouchOSC, but soon missed the feedback of his old
controller. The idea was born and soon he came to us with some
ugly ‘work-like-but-definitely-don’t-look-like’ models. We were
sold, four months and numerous iterations later we are here.”

“Here” is a Kickstarter for €12,500 launched today, with various
tiers offering between 1 and 10 production line knobs for between
€1 (early bird, 1 knob) and €85 (standard pledge, 10 knobs). As
mass production Kickstarters go, the price is on the low side, but
Tillema explains how the company’s background comes in handy. “The
upside of being industrial designers ourselves is that we only need
the finance for the injection mould,” he said. “We do all the
engineering and normally expensive parts in-house.”

Design iterations took only 30 minutes to print and test

Tuna DJ Gear

The knobs themselves have been designed around the iOS app
TouchOSC, but after several iterations they have been optimised for
use on Korg iMS-20, Korg iElectrive and iDJ2GO, too. Two other
apps, TouchAble and d(–)b, are also updating their apps to be
compatible with the dials.

“I have always loved making music and DJ’ing, but I
was always bound to my gear at home,” says Verburg, an industrial
design student at the Technical University in Delft. “But playing
around with apps like TouchOSC and Korg iElectribe I felt something
was missing. I wanted more precise control. I wanted knobs. So
that’s the idea I pitched for Tweetonig and they loved it.”

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