Modular Interface For iPad


Modulares Interface B.A. is a physical interface for iPad, created by Interaction Designer Florian Born, that uses knobs, buttons and sliders to provide precision and haptic feedback when operating a digital interface.

The project is a design concept meant to explore ways to bring more haptic feedback to iPad controllers.

Here’s a video demo of the Modulares Interface in action:

Here’s what Born has to say about the system:

The project has been developed to provide a variety of physical controllers. These controllers expand the usage of a touch device with a haptic feedback while adjusting parameters. By using magnets, the different controllers can easily be arranged onto the iPad. A modular interface appears, which uses a given device just like the iPad.

The system contains three different parts:

  • The physical controllers (button, slider and knob), made out of conductive aluminium to pass on the electrical discharge of the human skin.
  • A frame, made out of aluminium and plastic, in which the iPad is inserted. The edge of the frame has embedded magnets, making it possible to position the controller precisely and easily.
  • The software, running as an app on the iPad. It organizes the control elements and sends the parameters to the corresponding software, which is controlled by the modular interface.

Details on the Modulares Interface are available at Born’s site.

via creativeapplications

33 thoughts on “Modular Interface For iPad

      1. Very similar to Tuna Knobs in some ways – probably a better execution of the idea, but yeah I’d be interested to see pricing and see how much more standard controller you could have for your money 🙂

  1. This highlights — almost exaggerates– the battle between display, multitouch and tactile controls. You can’t really have a simultaneous display and control anyway because our hands just get in the way.

    I think having an external control box is a much more elegant solution. If a person wants a cheap way to hack this, they can use an highly liquid MIDI CPU to build their own controller.

  2. To bad this isn’t running on older android tablets with MIDI over USB. It could become a cool way to cheaply create your own MIDI controller without the need for hardware experience or coding.

      1. Yeah, but you can get an older android tablet for about 1/3rd of the cost of the older ipads. Plus it’s a standard USB cable. So cost wise it makes more sense. Especially if it was essentially just for a MIDI controller brain.

  3. Wow. Get that hunk of metal off that screen and give it a cable interface. I’ll duct tape an empty toilet paper spool to the iPad to simulate the restrictive touch interface myself. Excellent example of a solution in search of a problem.

  4. I am amused yet again by Ipads . Why don’t people just by synths with knobs on and get over their brand prestige insecurities.

    1. Seems like your comments reveal more about your own insecurities and anything else!

      Why do you need to ‘by synths with knobs on’ to conquer your insecurities?

      And why are you threatened by a design concept or what people do with iPads?

  5. Because I think you are missing the entire point, that’s why. People want configurable hardware controllers so they can experiment with what layouts make the most sense. There have been other designs that did this without the iPad, but they didn’t seem to catch on and had no real great display technology included.

    Make these thinner and more robust and you can basically create little displays with information all over the place AND have an easy to use platform for coding. I use TouchOSC all the time as a controller, mainly for DJing.

    Having purchased many controllers, like the Livid Ohm and Bitstream MIDI controller, I always felt like I had to rearrange my mental process of working to fit within someone elses ideas of an interface. Given that’s all there was, they were great to at least have, but having a generic set of controls for specific problems isn’t always great either.

    I hope this does become a product because it’s something I would love to experiment with.

    And I’d add, not everyone controls synths with external controllers. I control Ableton Live, VDMX and Modul8 to just name a few things.

  6. Really cool… but I really don’t get the controllers covering the screen. I want to control things in the iPad, or in any case, be able to see what’s going on.

  7. I guess one could make a chair out of an ipad, stick 4 legs and a plow and you are set.
    Seriously though this thing looks cool and useless at the same time.

    1. If you go to the website you’ll find that your comment accurately represents a great number of his projects.

      Which, hey… it’s art and creativity. Who said it needs to “fill a need gap”?? Over the course of today, I’ve come to appreciate this design more and more.

  8. Live the look and design of these! beautiful and the functional aesthetic is perfect.
    Now if they could be installed in a wooden tray/box to sit beside the iPad and send midi/osc or whatever – perfect!

  9. If you follow the link to the designer’s website, you’ll see that this product is the only music related product.

    This to me looks like a designer who had the technical capabilities and know-how, but lacked the real-world insight to realize that he was designing a “doughnut hole”.

  10. That is a ludicrous use of an iPad. But build that modular system as a standalone using some of the very cheap and relatively powerful brains that are available today, and you would have a real winner in modular controllers. Totally ridiculous to have an iPad underneath it though

    1. Not in the least, especially when a unit like this would allow people who aren’t good at coding to easily tweak their interface to suit their needs. If this is a ridiculous use of an iPad, then so is Lemur, touchOSC, TB MIdi Stuff, LivKontrol, etc. etc. The only difference is that this provides a hardware solution to complement the software.

      Is it the BEST use of the iPad? Maybe not. Definitely not for me. But it isn’t a “completely ridiculous” use of an iPad. What even is the best use of an iPad? To clean your mailbox? To open spreadsheets? To send text messages? To read literature? All of these things are already done (and often done better) through older technology. (Desktop, laptop, or actual BOOKS.) Every function that a tablet serves is already available to you in some other form. All you are buying is the touch interface. That’s where the value is.

      $500 might seem like a lot for a modular midi controller “brain.” But, let’s be real… You aren’t buying an iPad for anything other than touch input and the POTENTIAL to use it in interesting ways. This project supports that idea completely.

  11. this would be really cool with a simple midi interface board on the bottom, and a frame with modular controller components on top, so you could build your own design… but not an ipad on the bottom.. thats stupid as shit

  12. Your comments miss one point. Some of us have a REAL problem with the current touch screens as they need to ‘sence’ your fingertip.
    Ive got excema and need up to 10 touch’s Before the guesture is recognised by the software!
    So where are the high detail resistive screen?, nowhere. Untill then a touch device, you too android, cant be used in mission critical situ.
    They are NOT prcise enough. Which is why people like me, save, and buy knob ridden monstosities that are quirky limited and very rewarding to PLAY.

  13. i think this is pretty cool and a major step in a cool direction. there’s just something about feeling knobs and faders under your fingers.

    i would actually be interested in a version of this without the iPad. like a physical Lemur.

    aesthetically it’s beautiful too.

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