As much as companies like Microsoft and Oculus VR might be looking to take us down the road of gesture controls in virtual and augmented spaces, not everyone thinks that the next evolution of input devices will be three dimensional. Take the team behind the Sensel Morph, who believe that their touch-pad overlay system has the potential to provide a familiar, but deeper and more customisable way to interact with all sorts of programs and applications.
The Morph itself is a touchpad, but not as we know it. This one packs over 20,000 sensors on board, tracking everything from multiple touch points, to the pressure of each of those presses. This allows users to use a standard paintbrush and ‘paint’ in photoshop, with each bristle being detected, or control 3D objects with pressure from different fingers all at the same time.
However it’s the overlays that have Sensel backers particularly excited. Adding a piano layout, or a synthesiser pad, or even a traditional keyboard, makes it possible to use the morph in more intuitive ways. As a piano, it can play tunes, as a synthesiser it can have sounds that respond to pressure as much as touch and as a keyboard, you can type much more naturally than on the membrane boards of old, as the pressure on each key is tracked.
Currently on Kickstarter, the Sensel Morph has easily blown past its goal of a mere $60,000. You can pre-order one yourself for $250, with the first batch shipping in June next year. However if you want to get more involved, the developers are also holding a competition for the most innovative and useful overlay that can be imagined.
You can’t enter officially until the Kickstarter is over, but the eventual winner will have their design turned into the eighth official overlay of the Sensel Morph, which will ship with the device next year.