When you’re marketing your product as “the first pressure-sensitive, multi-touch input device that enables users to interact with the digital world like never before” in today’s age of portable Cintiq Wacom tablets and Force Touch screens on smart devices, it would be foolish to release anything other than an entirely new knockout product.
Yet – just days out of their first Kickstarter campaign – computer science whiz kid Ilya Rosenberg and electrical engineering expert Aaron Zarranga have already managed to prove their concept by raising nearly $250K – with an original campaign goal of just $60K – with over 40 days left to go in their crowdfunding campaign.
Their product, the Sensel Morph, seeks to outperform existing industry-standard digital touch solutions in accuracy, latency, and power, while offering an extra dimension of control in the form of force sensitivity. Perhaps most importantly, they’re aiming to do this in a way that allows entirely different kinds of users to customize their own experiences with a number of different “overlays” including artists, makers, technologists, musicians and even casual users.
“In addition to making traditional modes of user interaction more expressive and intuitive, our technology enables a wide range of new and exciting applications,” explain Rosenberg and Zarranga, who met while working together at Amazon.
“Whether you’re a tech hobbyist, a DJ, or a game developer— let our technology be the tool to fuel your innovative spirit.”
What makes the Sensel Morph different than other pressure-sensitive input devices however, is its ability to detect nearly any object – including fingers, paintbrushes and even drumsticks – while allowing users to interact with computers and programs straight out of the box using a number of thin, magnetic and flexible overlays. For those with the necessary hacking know-how, the interface can also be customized to any number of input types.
Currently, the team is also designing a simple web-based drag-and-drop interface that will enable users to design their own overlays without having to do any coding. These will then be able to be printed on paper or 3D printed to be used as needed.
“Unlike other touch technologies, which can only sense conductive objects, each of the sensor elements in our device senses pressure with a high dynamic range,” explains Rosenberg and Zarranga.
“These sensors allow us to capture a high-resolution image of the pressure applied to the device. Highly tuned algorithms on the device take these pressure images and turn them into a list of touch locations, each with their own force and shape information. This touch location data is then used to enable all the applications we’ve described above and is also accessible to developers through our API.”
Those interested in being amongst the first users of the Morph can purchase one for $249 over at the project’s Kickstarter page.