One of the core inspirations for my work has been the plenitude of tactile interfaces and analog-type devices for music production (as opposed to the dearth for design). No doubt there are some good historical reasons for this, but the disconnect seems like an opportunity.
With this in mind, I'm really interested in the work London (in fact, Dalston – my old neighborhood) startup ROLI has been up to.
They make the Seaboard:
What fascinates me is the way they've taken a very traditional interface (the piano keyboard) and given it new life, complexity and expressiveness through pressure sensors.
The patent-pending SEA Interface is ROLI’s disruptive platform sensor technology. SEA stands for Sensory, Elastic and Adaptive. SEA Interfaces are highly precise, information-rich, and pressure-sensitive, and can be built in any form factor. They enable seamless transitions between discrete and continuous input, and capture three-dimensional gestures while simultaneously providing the user with tactile feedback.
Intead of creating something new and unfamiliar, they've extended something musicians will understand – in doing so allowing them to achieve something new.
Interestingly, the company just acquired JUCE – a "powerful, extensive, cross‑platform C++ toolkit" – giving them more control over the software components of their system.
They are keen to state that their technology isn't limited to music, they want to invent the interfaces of the future.
Their vision statement:
We envision a world where technology feels like a natural and intuitive extension of the body, such that people connect to the digital world – and through it, to each other – in ways that enrich, ennoble, and empower all of us, and ultimately enable us to feel more.
Definitely a correlation to my interests – look forward to seeing where they head next.