BackerKit

The Sensel Morph: INTERACTION, EVOLVED.

Created by Sensel

The Sensel Morph: INTERACTION, EVOLVED.
Photo original
1,612 backers pledged $442,648.60 on Kickstarter

The first pressure-sensitive, multi-touch input device that enables users to interact with the digital world like never before.

Raised in Kickstarter
$442,648.60 / 1,612 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$93,683.36 / 1,662 backers

Learn About Our Project:

To see some articles that we've been featured in, go to sensel.com/press.

The Sensel Morph offers a new generation of multi-touch interaction, powered by our patented Pressure Grid technology, in the form of an input device that allows people to interact with computers and programs in a whole new way.

With its high dynamic range of force sensitivity, The Morph can detect not just your fingers but any object, from a paintbrush to a drumstick.

The Morph works out of the box with many applications, and it’s also hackable for those more technically-inclined. You can connect it to your computer via USB, to your iPad via Bluetooth, or to your Arduino via developer cables.

Our mission from the start was to address the mismatch between the expressive capabilities of our hands and the restrictive interfaces of today’s devices. We want to enable new ways of interaction with digital devices and allow Morph users to unleash new possibilities in the worlds of music, art, gaming (cue Buzz Lightyear), and beyond!

Best of all, you can use the same device in each of these areas. People today have many hobbies and interests- isn't it time you have a device that literally "Morphs" with your activities?

You can use various Overlays, all which are automatically detected, for each supported use case. The Overlays are optional "physical apps" made of a thin, flexible layer that you can place over the device to provide a visual "map" and tactile feedback for each mode’s unique functionality. Imagine having your art tablet, music production controller, QWERTY keyboard, piano, video game controller (and anything else your mind can fathom) all in one device. If you can imagine something so limitless without your brain imploding, you've imagined the Sensel Morph.

Unlike your typical single-use input device, the Morph is an extremely versatile product. Here are some use cases that we’ll be supporting out of the box:

As time passes we’ll continue to add support for all of your favorite software. Don’t forget to let us know if you’d like the Morph to support a specific program.

Check out some video footage of people using the Morph! Watch Josh Ellingson digitally paint with real brushes, Adriano Clemente, the director of Dubspot Labs, create an original track, Ray Kampmeier control a robot arm, and Joshua Davis create responsive art!

The Sensel Morph comes to life through the use of various overlays - thin, magnetic, flexible, and fully customizable surfaces that turn the device into virtually any tool or instrument imaginable. As you may have already guessed, the name “Morph” came from the realization that each overlay allows the device to morph into a new physical, tactile interface. Using unique magnetic identification codes, the sensor automatically detects each overlay and makes switching modes completely seamless.

With each device that we ship, you’ll be able to choose three overlays out of eight options including: (1) a QWERTY keyboard, (2) music production controller, (3) piano, (4) drum-pad, (5) art overlay, (6) gaming overlay, (7) the innovator’s kit, and (8) one additional overlay which will be chosen by our Kickstarter backers via the Overlay Contest.

We’re developing a simple web-based drag-and-drop interface that will go live when the first batch of devices ship. With this interface, you will be able to design your own overlay without having to do any coding. You will then be able to print them on paper (for use with the Innovators Overlay), or 3D print the overlays yourself. Pretty cool, huh?

One of the most exciting things about Sensel - maybe even more exciting than the Morph itself - is the community we plan to build. Users will not only be able to create new, custom interfaces for themselves using the simple drag-and-drop interface, but they will be able to easily share these interfaces with the entire community of Sensel Morph owners and talk to one another about what they’re creating with the Morph.

After developing early prototypes, we partnered with frog, a world-class design firm, to turn our early concepts into a device that’s ready for consumers. We worked with frog to refine and test core use cases for the Morph. We ended up with a design that is both sleek and functional.

The size of the device is similar to an iPad, which was purposefully done to make the Morph and the overlays easily portable. We found that these dimensions are ideal for two-handed interactions with the device, as well as for many art and music applications. The size is also convenient if you want to use the Morph alongside a tablet.

One of our favorite things about the Morph is that you can combine multiple devices. Below is an example of how we extended our piano -- you can even put four Morphs together to create an instrument with 96 keys -- more than a grand piano!

Beneath the smooth outer surface of the device are approximately 20,000 individual sensor elements at a spacing of 1.25mm (that’s less than 1/16”). We call them “sensels” for short, hence the name of our company.

Unlike other touch technologies, which can only sense conductive objects, each of the sensor elements in our device senses pressure with a high dynamic range. These sensors allow us to capture a high-resolution image of the pressure applied to the device. Highly tuned algorithms on the device take these pressure images and turn them into a list of touch locations, each with their own force and shape information. This touch location data is then used to enable all the applications we’ve described above and is also accessible to developers through our API. Here is what the sensor sees when you interact with a finger, hand or paintbrush:

You may be asking yourself: How can Sensel possibly fit 20,000 individual sensors into a device this compact and why has this never been done before? The reason is that it required three major innovations and a whole lot of elbow grease to make this technology possible - innovations in materials, manufacturing, and electronics. Our team worked closely with a material scientist to custom-formulate a highly-tuned polymer layer which gives each individual sensor element the ability to sense force. This material enables the product to have high sensitivity and a high dynamic range. In other words, it can detect anything from a feather-light tap to a hard push and everything in between (with over 4,000 detectable voltage levels).

Next, we created a new structure that allowed us to take advantage of advanced lithographic manufacturing processes (similar to how circuit-boards and semiconductors are built). In contrast, most force-sensing arrays available on the market today are screen printed (typically on a Mylar™ film), and thus cannot achieve high resolution or consistency, in comparison to Sensel’s process. This process allows us to create a very high resolution array of sensor elements on the same circuit board as the rest of our electronics, hence the 20,000 individual sensor elements.


Every sensor needs electronics to power it, read out signals and interpret those signals. The third major innovation is a new, patented electrical drive scheme and electrical circuitry that allows us to read this high-resolution sensor with commonly available electronic components, quickly and efficiently. This allows us to drive an exceptionally high-resolution sensor at high speed (>125 Hz), low latency (< 8 ms), and low power consumption at an affordable price point. We’ve also thrown in some extras like an accelerometer, LEDs, and Bluetooth LE support (along with a rechargeable battery) for those of you who can’t stand wires.

We also worked with expert mechanical engineers at Hive Design to design an aluminum housing for the Morph which is thin and lightweight, yet provides rigidity (necessary for when you’re really jamming on your device). It also holds the magnets which are used for overlay attachment and looks beautiful alongside your other devices.

We've received questions from our backers about things like compatibility with various art software (such as Photoshop), what it's like to perform music on the morph (in terms of sensitivity and ability to pitch-bend), and about what kind of objects the Morph can pick up. Here are a couple of video responses we've put together to answer some of these questions:

Kickstarter is a place where we know we’ll find people who are always on the lookout for the next big thing, and we think we just might have it. We're excited to see what you do with the Morph with the use-cases we've developed so far, but we're even more excited to see what you come up with on your own. The moment of inexplicable excitement we experience when we see someone create a new tune, new piece of art, new game, new controller, or (best of all) something we'd never have imagined with our technology -- that's why we chose the Kickstarter Community.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Resuming all Shipments
11 days ago – Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 11:52:01 PM

Dear Backers,

Thanks again for all your patience. We are really excited to let you know that we are resuming shipments to international backers and will start shipping devices which contain Art Overlays on June 26th. We know you have all been frustrated with the delays so we wanted to provide a little bit more transparency so you know what’s been going on behind the scenes.

International Shipping

Because we are shipping to approximately fifty countries, we have had a number of challenges with international shipments. The first is that backers that received their devices prior to June 8th received invoices with higher values than what they paid, and as a result, were overcharged on VAT fees. We are sending all of these backers corrected invoices so that they can get refunds from their customs office or FedEx. The second challenge is that in many cases Sensel was paying as much as $100 more than we we had charged in shipping fees per order. This was not only affecting us, but also some of our backers, since some countries assess VAT/GST fees on shipping costs.

We have been working closely with our fulfillment center and shipping carriers over the last several weeks on these issues and the good news is that going forward, all backers will receive a correct invoice and any VAT, GST, and/or duty fees will be based on the exact value of merchandise (for some countries, plus shipping cost paid) and our shipping costs have been reduced down to approximately what we charged our international backers. We have been restarting international shipments gradually to make sure there are no more surprises. Everything has been going well so far and we expect to start international orders to all countries in a week.

Art Overlays

The reason for the delay on orders containing Art Overlays is that the Sierra update of OSX broke support for graphics tablets which use the standard HID interface (our device worked perfectly on earlier versions of OSX). We didn’t want to have backers receive devices that didn’t work right out of the box, so we decided to delay shipments on devices with Art overlays until the issue was corrected.

We lost weeks trying to diagnose and correct the issue because Apple didn’t have any documentation for the change, and we assumed we were doing something wrong on our side with regards to how we were communicating over the USB bus. In the end, the only thing that worked was writing an OSX driver, which required a significant effort from our software team. The good news is that with the new driver, the device is working great again in OSX. The software team is now putting the finishing touches on the driver and has committed to releasing it by next Friday, allowing us to resume shipments the following Monday, June 26th.

Device Availability

There are about 500 devices currently at our fulfillment center that are ready for international shipments and another 500 on the way to our fulfillment center from the factory. The factory is also continuing to build several hundred devices per week, thus we expect the vast majority of Kickstarter orders to be fulfilled in the next several weeks.

Again, thank you so much for your patience and support. We are really excited to get devices out to all of you as soon as possible!

All the Best,

The Sensel Team

Shipment Update and Moogfest
about 1 month ago – Sat, May 27, 2017 at 09:53:41 PM

Dear Backers,

As of several weeks ago, we have restarted production and are building several hundred Morphs each week. Many of you have already received your devices and we've really enjoyed all of the projects that have been shared with us thus far!

For the remainder of you who have yet to receive your Morphs, shipping is being gated on two things:

1) Art Overlays: We want to make sure all the functionality of the Morphs works out of the box when you receive your devices. The team is currently making the finishing touches to firmware and software to support art use cases. Orders containing art overlays will start shipping once we get the thumbs up from our hard-working software team.

2) International Shipments: Some of our international backers notified us that they were charged excessive VAT fees. We are now working with a shipment consultant to make sure we have correct paperwork for each country that we’re shipping to (we have backers in 54 countries so this is no easy feat). We plan to resume international shipments next week with a few test shipments to make sure the issue has been resolved.

All orders that are not international and don’t contain the Art Overlay should have already shipped out. If you are based in the USA, did not order an Art Overlay and did not receive your Morph, please contact us at support@sensel.com and we'll get it sorted out.

Once again, we appreciate your patience and are working diligently to make sure all our backers get their Morphs as soon as possible!

All our Best,

The Sensel Team

P.S. Thanks to everyone that was able to come by and visit our booth at Moogfest! Here is one of our favorite photos from the event:

Our youngest fans playing on Morphs at Moogfest!
Our youngest fans playing on Morphs at Moogfest!

 

Production Restart and Media Editing Overlay Update
about 2 months ago – Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 05:24:56 PM

Dear Backers,

We have some good news to share with you...

Production:

We assembled twenty PCBs this past week and they passed a full battery of tests by our engineers... woo hoo! So, we will be re-starting production this Monday, and shipping 500 units as soon as they come off of the production line. We are also kicking off production of an additional 1500 PCBs to replace the balance of defective PCBs which will be assembled as soon as they come in from our PCB fab.

Media Editing Overlay:

We finalized the design of the Media Editing Overlay and are starting to tool the mold at our factory. If you guys remember, the Media Editing Overlay was the winning submission (by Cliff Edwards... thank you Cliff!) of the overlay contest. This ended up being the most complex of the ten overlays to design, because we weren't experts on video/audio editing, and needed to do a lot of research to understand how to make this a useful overlay. But, after a significant amount of iteration and user testing, we feel we have come up with a design that we think is quite possibly awesome! We will be sharing more details about this new design, as well as the production timelines in the coming weeks and can't wait to see what you think of it.

Finally, we wanted to extend a big thank you to all the backers who have sent us feedback and posted to social media about your experiences getting started with the Morph. This feedback is really important for us as we think about what features to add to our firmware, software and overlays and how to improve our product going forward.

We are so overwhelmingly happy to have all of you start exploring what the Morph can do and please remember to reach out to us at support@sensel.com if you run into any trouble.

All our best,

The Sensel Team

Some Exciting Updates
2 months ago – Sat, Apr 22, 2017 at 12:25:11 AM

Dear Backers,

We have a few pieces of great news for you today:

1) A new version of our C API is now available on github. Among many other improvements, this version adds support for multiple devices and the ability to read raw force images. We have also released an Arduino API which enables direct communication to a Sensel Morph using the cable provided with the innovator's kit. If you are planning to develop with either of these APIs, you must first update to the latest version of the firmware using the Sensel app, which is available on our web site.

2) We have received 500 new PCBs in house. They have passed our initial inspection and we are very confident that they are defect free. We are assembling a small batch of these into devices next week to verify that the issue we saw previously has been corrected, at which point we will turn our assembly line back on and start churning out more Morphs, which we expect to be better than ever!

3) Last, but certainly not least, we're happy to tell you that we shipped 155 Morphs from our fulfillment center this week! We're very excited to get this batch of devices out to you. If your unit was included in this batch, you should have received an email from FedEx containing tracking information. If you didn't receive an email, don't worry, your shipment will be included in one of the following batches which will be shipping throughout May. When you receive your Morph, remember to download the Sensel app to update firmware and configure overlays. If you have any questions come up as you start using your Morph, we encourage you to check out the User Guide or contact support@sensel.com.

Morphs leaving the fulfillment center on their way to their new owners!
Morphs leaving the fulfillment center on their way to their new owners!

Thank you once again for your ongoing patience and support and have a wonderful weekend!

All our best,

The Sensel Team

Shipping continues as Sensel Wins SXSW Award!
3 months ago – Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 10:58:59 PM

Dear Backers,

Great news!  Last week at SXSW (South by Southwest) The Sensel Morph was awarded BEST OF SHOW at the Interactive Innovation Awards.  Some of the other finalists included Projects by Google and Microsoft, the room was filled with talent, and we are very honored to have taken home this award.  We could not have done it without you!

Aaron Zarraga (CTO) and Steph Chedíd (Product Mktg Lead) at SXSW with the award
Aaron Zarraga (CTO) and Steph Chedíd (Product Mktg Lead) at SXSW with the award

 

The Sensel Morph Wins Best Of Show!
The Sensel Morph Wins Best Of Show!

As mentioned in our last update, batches of Morphs have started to ship and will continue to ship through April.  If you ordered a Media Editing Overlay, you will receive your Morph and any other Overlays you ordered but the Media Editing Overlay will arrive separately in May.  The Media Editing Overlay has some delays and we did not want to further delay your Morph shipment, which is why it will be arriving separately.

Thank you again for your patience, support, and kind words! We can't wait to see your #MorphMade projects!  

All our best,

The Sensel Team