Mercurial Innovations Group's STC-1000
is two devices combined in one MIDI unit: it's an X-Y continuous touch
controller, and a programmable multi-zone percussion-style MIDI
trigger. In other words, you can use it like a sophisticated touchpad
for controlling filters and synth parameters, or use its zones as
drum/note triggers. Street price US$225. (Why not by a Korg ElecTribe,
then? This does look more customizable, possibly more sensitive.)
Kinotex, owned by Tactex, manufactures the touch-sensitive surface itself.
Why haven't we seen more touch surfaces in instrument design? Even the
Nintendo DS has a touch surface in a portable device with a bright LCD
costing just US$150. The clever Surface One control surface, shown at Musik Messe in 2001, never appeared. (Ahem, M-Audio? Digidesign? Still there?)
CDM prediction: touch surfaces, particularly those coupled with LCDs,
could be standard equipment even on sub-$1000 devices soon.
Cris 'atariboy' Pearson, musician and graphic/UI designer, helped research this report.