Robb Dillon was working in logistics when he began trying to learn to play guitar. Like many pursuing their musical dreams as a beginner — and at more advanced levels — he wanted to use technology to improve, recording his practice songs and watching YouTube videos.
But he quickly became frustrated that every time he wanted to click his computer mouse, he had to stop playing. He searched for a hands-free mouse or another option, but found nothing that satisfied his need.
Dillon took it upon himself to design a piece of hardware that would solve his problem by using another appendage — his foot. SMASHmouse is a patent-pending universal pedal that allows users to program over 10 one-click shortcuts; think left foot press to pause a video on your computer, or stomp the “up” button to start recording.
Without even a prototype, Dillon visited the National Association of Music Merchants Show (NAMM) in 2017 to gauge interest, and found the response overwhelming.
“People were signing up for pre-orders before they even saw what this was going to look like,” Dillon says. SMASHmouse was named by USA Today as one of the “7 Coolest Things” seen at NAMM that year.
With validation for his design, Dillon returned home to Atlanta to crank out his device. Now working full-time on the startup and with a team in place, he plans for SMASHmouse to begin manufacturing in Q3 of this year.
To connect with additional music industry leaders Dillon joined the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Project Music program sponsored by the Country Music Association. Last week, he pitched and won Startup Development Institute’s Media and Tech Pitch, where one of the judges was legendary producer Jermaine Dupri.
And this week, SMASHmouse is bringing their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign online to allow music enthusiasts early access to the device. Dillon is aiming to raise about $43,000 by selling the device for pre-orders of $80-$100.
“This pedal is for musicians of all levels—whether they’re learning in a basement, performing on YouTube or laying tracks in a multimillion dollar recording studio,” says Dillon.
However, Dillon is adamant that the device will have use cases far beyond music. One related industry is gaming, an $109 billion industry. Another is data entry, when only having a hand mouse makes the process more time-consuming and cumbersome.
Dillon even sees the potential in healthcare — think of using your foot as a surgical assistant to manipulate cameras — and as an assistive technology for those with special needs.
SMASHmouse will begin manufacturing and production this year.