Since we’re looking at interesting controllers, here’s an entirely different take on the issue… what if you could just stick a physical knob onto your computer screen, and the physical knob became one with the onscreen knob? Intriguing.
There’s a prophead-type gent in Cambridge UK that proposes to give you exactly that. Seems this Lyndsay Williams fellow and his company, Girton Labs, are busy working out how to build knobs that magnetically stick to your lappy screen, and via both hardware and software, let you manipulate the underlying onscreen controls and therefore the attached software function.
It’s all very much in the beta test phase, and no prices or delivery date is set (or even hinted at). But there are videos on the website showing the SenseSurface in action… you should go check it out for yourself.
I’m not sure a laptop is the best platform for this — I’m thinking 30″ flat-screen monitors angled back — but if this can truly be made to work it would give us DIY controllers that could be easily re-configured on the fly, depending on the application. I can visualize a box ‘o pots and sliders next to the monitor… sweet.
Hat tip to Charlie Richmond at Richmond Sound Design; the full story at Girton’s website: girtonlabs – SenseSurface – Girton Labs Cambridge
In the midst of recording and editing dialog for a new videogame (whose name I unfortunately cannot divulge), I caught wind of these new workstation controllers from Korg, cleverly grouped together as the nanoSERIES:
There are three of them, and each is designed specifically for laptop use. They connect to your computer via USB, and appear to be bus-powered (at least for one at a time use. Don’t know if you can connect more with a hub or not). They all speak MIDI, so it should be possible to program them to perform various functions, as most Mac and PC software editors now support MIDI controllers and Continuous Controller (CC) messages. The music keyboard and drum pad units look like fun, but the money piece is the mix controller, shown below.
The nanoKONTROL comes with nine very short throw faders, nine associated knobs, and eighteen buttons for (I presume) mute and solo. It also features a transport section that lacks only a jog/shuttle wheel, and speaks MIDI Machine Control (MMC). A software app called Korg KONTROL Editor promises to provide a friendly interface when it’s time to program this Bad Boy, and the ability to store programs and settings on computer for later recall. I’ll def have to get my mitts on one of these mix controllers for review in RAP, ASAP.
Pricing and delivery information is not yet available, of course. But you can get firsthand info at Korg’s USA website here, or if you’re fluent reading Japanese you can check it out at the source here.