The keyboard and trackpad are cornerstones of mobile productivity, but they take up a lot of room. We’ve already seen one crowdfunding approach to combining them but the combination isn’t necessarily greater than the sum of their parts.
The Sensel Morph is a Bluetooth touch input device that’s sensitive to pressure — so sensitive, in fact, that it can pick up the bristles of a paintbrush with its 20,000 embedded sensors. The company is taking advantage of its versatile surface by making available a series of magnetic overlays that have raised surfaces. Some of the first are a DJ control pad, a typing keyboard, a music keyboard, a drum pad and game controller.
in addition to Bluetooth, the Morph supports USB connections to PCs; up to four devices can be used adjacent to each other to simulate something like a piano keyboard. Sensel offers an open API and is eager to see new uses for its device. $249 is the going price for a Sensel Morph and three overlays. It’s due to ship in June 2016. Sensel seeks $60,000 in funding by October 9th.
Whether it’s used as a compact keyboard, a large touchpad, or something unforeseen, the Morph is a flexible input device. However, for it to be fully exploited, apps will need to support it. Fortunately for the company, they may see pressure-senstiive input apps on the rise as Apple appears to be readying versions of its iPhone (and perhaps iPad) with its Force Touch technology.