SenseSurface: Stick real knobs to on-screen virtual controls

Lyndsay Williams of Girton Labs has built this prototype "SenseSurface" system which allows you to attach real, physical knobs to a flat-panel display. The magnetic knobs are measured by a sensor plate in the rear, letting you turn the knob itself to control the software dials. It's all a test project now, but I could see some people really getting into this. (Although not on laptops so much as dedicated displays.) Below, a short clip of a prototype SenseSurface knob in action. Project Page [ via via Music Thing]
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9 Responses to SenseSurface: Stick real knobs to on-screen virtual controls

  1. pork musket says:

    That’s pretty cool tech, but I don’t see how it’s any better than just mapping controls to a midi device and using the knobs there. Gives you more flexibility to move the screen layout around but keep the knobs in the same position. I hate having to adjust my knob.

  2. Piet Stoaling says:

    That is cool. It better than a control surface, beace for one, it saves weight and space! I could think of more… But disadvantages…? How many buttons could you fit on your laptop or even desktop screen? Think of how big a standard sound desk is…

    BBUT – Couple this idea with one of those funky flexible organic displays that are being developed, and I’m pretty sure you have a winner!

  3. mdhatter says:


  4. Downpressor says:

    file under neat idea by someone who doesnt spend much time producing or only has minimal needs

  5. markfrei says:

    I love it. Now give me sliders too!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Really usefull and handy :-)
    I wish to view some gears like this :

  7. Chevan says:

    It reminds me of the Powermate from Griffin, although I found infinitely more use from that piece of gadgetry as a page scroller than a volume knob.

  8. gigarizel says:

    ah, I have seen this demoed on a Microsoft Surface. look around 20:30

    I think it is great because you can save screen real estate, you don’t need all those menus cluttering up your screen and can have a large set of coded knobs for different tasks. It felt very intuitive. How are the knobs held in place in this demo? The MS surface is a flat table so it did not have to hold the knobs in place.

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