A pair of former Amazon tech workers have invented what might just be the future of touchpads:
Unlike most trackpads and touchscreens, the high-resolution Morph can sense any object, including its shape. Where other trackpads are meant for a few pressure points, the Morph can track up to 16 different points at a time — enough for all your fingers and a few of your friends’. It detects a nuanced range of pressure with its 20,000 sensors.
“We realized everybody who sees it wants to use it for something different,” said Zarraga.
Instead of focusing on one use case, the Silicon Valley company decided to tap the Maker craze and open it up. In addition to the overlays Sensel makes, anyone with a 3D printer can make their own surface. Rosenberg and Zarraga imagine a store where artists and other creatives can swap designs for their custom skins or sell finished versions. To get started, they worked with a DJ school in New York on a custom overlay for DJ controls.
During a demo, I played a ditty on the piano, painted and drummed while connected to a laptop. To show how sensitive the surface is, we placed a cup of coffee on top. The Sensel test application showed that it picked up the ring on the bottom of the cup. When the cup rocked, the Morph could detect the liquid sloshing around from side-to-side.
Their Kickstarter has already raised more than $200,000 out of their desired $60,000 to get the project running. But Apple or Samsung or some smart company ought to make them an offer they can’t refuse.