$28 device adds physical Photoshop controls through a USB port

Products like the Wacom tablet and Palette Gear help bring a physical element back to processing digital images — if you have a few hundred dollars lying around anyways. But a new Indigogo project is working to add a physical Photoshop dial using a USB port.

The BrushKnob is a simple, singular control for Photoshop. Designed to control the size of the paintbrush and eraser, the BrushKnob is about the size of a thumb drive and plugs directly into a USB port.

While the idea behind physical Photoshop controls certainly isn’t anything new, the BrushKnob shows potential at offering the feature within almost any budget. Indigogo supporters can expect to receive one near October with a mere $28 contribution if the project reaches its goal. With the BrushKnob 80 percent funded with 18 days to go, that’s a very good possibility.

BrushKnob has just two controls: a dial for increasing or decreasing the brush size, and a switch to easily swap back and forth from the paintbrush to the eraser. While the device certainly isn’t designed to compete directly with the Palette Gear that offers a customizable set of dials and sliders, the simple design and affordable price could easily help speed up the workflow for enthusiast photographers and graphic designers.

Developer Wataru Kami, who currently works as a concept artist in Japan, said the device doesn’t need a separate driver installed because BrushKnob uses keyboard signals to communicate with the computer. Adjusting the keyboard shortcuts will allow the BrushKnob to be used for different controls or within different programs, since the computer recognizes the device as another keyboard. That also means the device will only currently work with English keyboards.

If the keyboard shortcut trick isn’t enough, BrushKnob is being released with open source code, which means users with some understanding of AVR or Ardunio can customize the dial.

Kami expects the device to ship in October if the Indigogo campaign reaches the $10,000 goal.

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