McPherson is Assistant Professor in Digital Media at the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London. TouchKeys grows out of his work at the Centre.
What are the TouchKeys?
- The TouchKeys are touch sensors that attach to your keyboard to measure where your fingers contact the keys.
- You can use the TouchKeys with any synth to control vibrato, pitch bends, control changes and other new sounds while playing.
- The TouchKeys will be available as a DIY add-on for your own keyboard or as part of a pre-built controller.
Here are details on TouchKeys:
The TouchKeys are capacitive sensor overlays which attach securely to the surface of each key, on instruments with standard keyboards. When you play, the sensors measure the position and contact area of your fingers in real time. This information is sent back to your computer, where the TouchKeys software lets you control any instrument you like.
The TouchKeys sensors are shaped to fit any keyboard with standard-width keys. The overlays cover the entire playing surface of the key, sensing your finger position in two dimensions (XY). Sensing the touch contact area means the TouchKeys can also distinguish between the fingertip and the pad of the finger. The sensors are even multi-touch: up to three simultaneous touches can be sensed on a single key.
Here’s a video overview of TouchKeys:
“Synthtopia readers might like this,” notes McPherson, “Since it adds many new expressive techniques directly to the surface of any keyboard – and it works nicely with almost any synth.”
See the project site for details on TouchKeys.
Update: McPherson shared this new demo video with us, The latest video shows the TouchKeys controlling classic analog synth sounds, using polyphonic aftertouch with the Arturia CS80V plugin. Not only can the keyboard emulate the capabilities of the classic CS-80 keyboard, but it can go beyond it, by putting both aftertouch and pitch control into every key. Check out the end of the video for an example: