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.
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:
Production Restart and Media Editing Overlay Update
about 18 hours ago
– Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 05:24:56 PM
We have some good news to share with you...
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 email@example.com if you run into any trouble.
All our best,
The Sensel Team
Some Exciting Updates
8 days ago
– Sat, Apr 22, 2017 at 12:25:11 AM
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
about 1 month ago
– Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 10:58:59 PM
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!
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
We started shipping today!
about 2 months ago
– Wed, Mar 01, 2017 at 10:38:24 PM
The day you've all been waiting for has come! We're so happy to tell you that we shipped our first units today and additional batches will be going out shortly. Although shipping started today, the units will go out in batches and continue to be shipped throughout the end of March, so please be patient while waiting for your Morph.
You'll know when your device ships because you will receive an emailwith tracking information. We will be shipping via FedEx. Again, devices will be shipping through the end of March, so if you don't receive yours in the next couple of weeks, rest assured that it's still coming your way.
Please Remember: If you haven't already adjusted and double-checked your shipping address do so now via the backer survey as the addresses will be locked down by EOD tomorrow.
Thank you so much for your patience while we worked to make the Morph as great as possible for you! We can't wait for you to get your devices! Please email us at email@example.com if you have any issues with shipping.
All our best,
The Sensel Team
Make sure your shipping address is correct!
2 months ago
– Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 12:00:24 PM
Per our last update, we'll be shipping your devices fairly soon! Please make sure that the address you have listed on your order is accurate as addresses will be finalized (and no longer adjustable) in the next couple of days. If you'd like to change your address, please do so here as soon as possible.