SENSEL The Morph, The Future Pressure Sensitive Touch Device For Musicians & Artists?

The first of its kind, Sensel Morph promises limitless open-source creative expression for makers and creators and musicians everywhere.  

When I first saw The Morph in action I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed. Since the iPad was introduced, the music and creative world has been crying out for a more accurate touch input device. Something which takes a Wacom tablet or touch screen tablet to the next level. 

A render of The Morph.

If first impressions are anything to go by, Sensel's The Morph does just that with multi-touch pressure sensitivity and 3D overlays that can be swaped at will depending on your application (read: QWERTY keyboards, MIDI controller keyboards, different MIDI controller pads). This could potentially change the way we can create, perform and interact with our computers, and it's able to connec via USB or wirelessly via bluetooth. The Morph is on Kickstarter now, and it looks like the public love this a lot! After less than 2 days (and with 43 days to go) Sensel The Morph has already received $213, 000! That's more than 350% of the required $60,000 pledge!

Sensel Kickstarter Video from Sensel on Vimeo.

Here's what Sensel have told us:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 25th, 2015 -- Sensel (http://www.sensel.com), the company behind advanced touch interaction devices, today announced the launch of its Kickstarter campaign for the first product of its kind – the Sensel Morph. With patented Pressure Grid Technology, Sensel is the first company to bring multi-touch pressure-sensing technology to a consumer electronic price point. Sensel Morph is a next-generation input device that allows creators and innovators to explore endless possibilities in music, art, gaming and beyond.

“Ever since I started using computers, I've been frustrated by how limiting all the interfaces that we use daily are. Keyboards, mice and touch screens are unable to capture the creativity or the expression of our hands,” says Ilya Rosenberg, CEO and co-founder of Sensel. “With Sensel, we wanted to build a new interface which captures all the nuance of human touch and makes this available to any application - from painting or playing a musical instrument, to sculpting virtual clay.”

Yes, that's a paintbrush on the Sensel Morph!

Yes, that's a paintbrush on the Sensel Morph!

At the size of an iPad and integrating over 20,000 sensors, the Sensel Morph translates the detail, speed, expression, and power of touch like never before - making it faster and more precise than any other product currently on the market. Beyond fingers and styli, the Sensel Morph can detect any object or creative tool, from paintbrushes to drum sticks. Sensel partnered with frogVentures, the investment arm of global product strategy and design firm frog, to co-develop the intuitive and engaging user experience.

“Our digital tools have progressed far beyond the slowly evolving physical interfaces we use to interact with them – it’s time to catch up,” says Ethan Imboden, VP and Head of Venture Design at frog. “Our work with Sensel focuses on closing the gap between creative intent and digital realization. Sensel Morph is simple, powerful and adaptable.”

A 3D printed overlay giving The Morph a music pad controller look and feel.

A 3D printed overlay giving The Morph a music pad controller look and feel.

The Sensel Morph can be used with optional magnetic, flexible and fully-customizable overlays that transform the device into virtually any instrument or tool imaginable. Five overlays are now available, including: a QWERTY keyboard, an MPC-style MIDI controller, a piano and a drum-pad. The fifth is a translucent "innovator's" overlay, which allows users to design, print and use their own custom interfaces. The company will periodically release new interfaces, which are easily implemented and automatically detected by the Sensel Morph.

Users will be able to create new, custom interfaces by using a simple drag and drop process, and custom overlays will eventually be shareable with a community of other owners. Sensel Morph users will also have access to a vast range of interfaces created by other users, with the ability to load a new interface with a single click of a button. Using Sensel’s open source API, advanced users will be able to further customize the Sensel Morph to facilitate new types of pressure-based interactions. 

The Morph is so sensitive, drawing on paper on top of it can be accurately translated into digital software.

The Morph is so sensitive, drawing on paper on top of it can be accurately translated into digital software.

“We're now accustomed to using electronic devices that upgrade and improve over time, and until now, physical interfaces (keyboards, mice, midi controllers, etc) have been the exception,” says Aaron Zarraga, CTO and co-founder of Sensel. "Sensel is creating the first physical, tactile interface that is both dynamic and upgradable. We’re hoping that people use the Morph to create interfaces that have never been possible before. Human interaction with the digital world can be so much more than just tapping on glass.”

There's lots of ways The Morph can be used by makers, musicians and artists.

There's lots of ways The Morph can be used by makers, musicians and artists.

The Sensel Morph Kickstarter campaign begins today, August 25th, and will run for 45 days, with a fundraising goal of $60,000. 

Sensel Morph specifications:

  • High Resolution - 1.25mm sensor spacing, ~0.1mm tracking accuracy, 20,000 individual pressure sensing elements.
  • Force Sensitivity - Can sense any object and forces ranging from the lightest touch, to the hardest press
  • Multi-Touch - Tracks up to 16 touches with individual position, force, and shape information for each touch
  • High Frame Rate (and Low Latency) - At least 125Hz in full resolution mode (with a maximum latency of 8ms), and at least 500Hz in high speed mode (with a maximum latency of 2ms)
  • High Build Quality - 

◦Durable low-friction touch surface with built-in magnets, allowing docking of custom magnetic overlays (along with automatic detection of current overlay)

◦Durable aluminum base with non-slip rubber feet

  • Interface - Built-in emulation of standard devices including trackpad, QWERTY keyboard, stylus/digitizer and MIDI instrument
  • Connectivity - Bluetooth Low Energy wireless and micro-USB
  • Battery - Built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery (with one week of normal use and one month in standby)
  • Compatibility - Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Arduino (with optional USB to serial cable)
  • Developer Access - Open source, easy to use and integrate API with support for Processing, C, C++, Objective C, C#, Unity, Java, Python and other languages
  • Dimensions - 240mm wide x 169.5mm high x 6.75mm thick
  • Active Area - 230mm x 130mm

For more information about Sensel, please visit: http://www.sensel.com 

Sensel Kickstarter is here: kickstarter.com/projects/1152958674/the-sensel-morph-interaction-evolved

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More

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