ROLI is a London-based technology start-up specialised in music hardware and known for the Seaboard. The Seaboard was an answer to the design limitations of the piano keyboard as a mechanical interface for making sound and music.
ROLI was founded by the American-born musician, designer and entrepreneur Roland Lamb in 2009. Its first instrument, the Seaboard is based on the piano keyboard. The Seaboard has a continuous surface of pliable silicone rather than the hard, discrete keys of a piano. The instrument introduced ways for musicians to play “in between” the keys of a standard piano. A player can bend the pitch of a note by making vibrato-like sideways movements, deepens a sound by pressing into the surface, and in other ways manipulate sound through touch.
The Seaboard’s touch technology was adapted for BLOCKS, a consumer-oriented music device, in 2016. The company develops both hardware and software. In addition to its musical instruments and devices, it created the NOISE app and the Equator software synthesiser. It also owns the C++ audio coding framework JUCE, the virtual instruments maker FXpansion, and the social music-sharing platform Blend.
ROLI instruments are used by musicians including Grimes, and Hans Zimmer.