Currently smashing its goal on Kickstarter despite having 38 days to go, the Sensel Morph is an input device that we'd struggle to describe in one word because it can do just about anything you want it to. It's a trackpad, but it can also be a keyboard, a piano, a music production controller, a game controller, a drum pad, an artists canvas and more.
This extremely clever gadget uses Sensel's patented Pressure Grid technology, which is pressure-sensitive to a very high level and allows multi touch gestures, too. Not only can it detect your fingers, it can also detect objects such as paintbrushes and drumsticks.
Plus, it's available to use with a variety of applications on a variety of devices, including computers and tablets.
Read on to find out more.
Image: Artist Josh Ellingson using a real paintbrush with the Sensel Morph.
"Our mission from the start was to address the mismatch between the expressive capabilities of our hands and the restrictive interfaces of today's devices," Sensel explains. "We want to enable new ways of interaction with digital devices and allow Morph users to unleash new possibilities in the worlds of music, art, gaming (cue Buzz Lightyear), and beyond!"
"Best of all, you can use the same device in each of these areas. People today have many hobbies and interests – isn't it time you have a device that literally "Morphs" with your activities?"
Image: Technologist Joshua Davis using the Sensel Morph.
The Sensel Morph has various Overlays that can be placed over the device to transform it, perhaps into an artist canvas or a piano. The Art Overlay lets you use actual paintbrushes, pens and pencils on the trackpad, and is compatible with lots of art applications out of the box. It also includes remappable buttons to allow you to add your favourite shortcuts and tools for easy access.
There's also a special Innovator Overlay, which works with a clever web-based drag-and-drop tool that lets you design your own overlay. You can print that overlay on paper or 3D print it yourself and start using it. That tool will allow Sensel users to share their designs for others to use too, so the possibilities are pretty much endless.
Image: Musician Adriano Clemente using the Music Production Controller Overlay with the Sensel Morph.
We absolutely love the idea, and it's clear we're not the only ones. The project has already raced past its goal of $60,000 and at the time of writing is on $290,000 with 38 days to go. That's pretty incredible.
Once the Kickstarter campaign is over, Sensel expects it to take a while for the product to be ready to ship. Early Bird backers, which will have pledged $199, should get their Sensel Morph in June 2015.
Image: Ray Kampmeier using the Sensel Morph to explore gesture manipulation of a robotic arm.
Sensel is continuously working on new overlay ideas, but as part of its Kickstarter campaign it is running a competition to see who can come up with the most popular new overlay option. It's a clever tactic that'll help the company get an idea of what people want from the device.