Tech team helps music duo find their bearings

Backing from a University-led tech support initiative has helped an Edinburgh-based start-up beat the drum for Scottish innovation at a global showcase event.


Support from the Creative Informatics programme helped the company launch its playful educational app at the prestigious South By South West (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas.

Playable Technology previewed its BeatBlocks app -which encourages children to build music in real-time using toy bricks – in front of key technology influencers.

Playable was invited to appear as part at SXSW’s Immersive Futures Lab by Creative Informatics and the British Council’s Creative Economy team.

The Edinburgh-led initiative supports individuals and organisations in the creative industries to develop projects that do inspiring things with data

Real synergy

BeatBlocks combines leading edge technology with hands-on play to give children the best of both digital and real-world environments.

Delegates at the world-renowned tech, music and film conference were able to build their own beats at the lab as part of the launch.

Now available as a free feature-limited trial version, the full version costs just £3.99 and was launched at this year’s SXSW as part of the UK’s Immersive Futures Lab.

Global reach

“We were delighted to give Playable – and our other partner companies – the opportunity to present to a globally connected audience,” says name and title of Creative Informatics.

“To see such engagement in and excitement for their work from a wide range of individuals and companies showed the true impact potential of their ideas.

“We look forward to seeing Playable continuing to innovate and expand, exploring valuable new opportunities for creative technology within and beyond Scotland.”


Tech innovators

Playable Technology was founded by Edinburgh alumni turned technology entrepreneurs, David Skulina and Benjaman Schogler, two years ago.

The company develops creative technology, either through third-party commissions or self-funded commercial enterprises such as BeatBlocks.

Its team has a proven track record of building successful highly visible partnerships, notably with Apple Inc. and Sesame Workshop.

The duo were behind the success of the Skoog – a cubed musical instrument for special needs education and music therapy, developed in Edinburgh and now retailed by Apple.

Shared ethos

“BeatBlocks extends the scope of construction toys such as Lego, honouring their original ethos and adding an entirely new layer of creativity,” said co-founder BenSchogler, a developmental psychologist and expert in educational technology, learning and play.

“Our shared philosophy is to give children the freedom to play and express themselves creatively by combining building bricks with an intuitive digital experience.”

More than 250,000 global visitors attend SWSX to celebrate the convergence of the interactive tech, film and music industries.

“There are few better platforms to showcase BeatBlocks and Scottish digital innovation,” said David Skulina, whose PhD in Musical Acoustics involved firing high powered lasers at flutes amongst a host of other innovative research techniques.

“We are delighted to be supported by Creative Informatics. Their resident entrepreneurs programme enabled us to officially launch BeatBlocks on a world stage in front of genuine technology influencers.”

/University of Edinburgh Public Release. View in full here.