Tactile controllers (or control surfaces) are wonderful things. They offer users an immediacy and intimacy that is missing from mouse or touchpad-based user interfaces. There’s nothing to compare with a smooth, proportional fader control of some parameter. Really, nothing comes close.
So that’s why this new hardware controller from Klotz is interesting. It’s a combination of a touchscreen and real, tactile controllers - faders in this case.
It comes with most of the common interfaces and protocols that would allow it to be used with video and audio editing software, and you can immediately see the potential for this sort of device.
There have been touchscreen controllers before, and they can be surprisingly good, but, ultimately, they lack the very thing that users crave, which is tactility. And hardware-only control surfaces, while they can be assignable, don’t have the display capabilities to allow them the rich palate of control that modern, complex software needs. So this new controller, which combines hardware elements with a full colour display looks like it could be the best of all worlds, with real, tactile controls surrounded by a screen that could give incredible, responsive feedback.
Incidentally, this is possibly not the first time that we’ve seen physical controls embedded in a screen. Some ten years ago, Soundcraft showed their Vistonics screen which embedded physical control knobs into the surface of an LCD screen. It’s still available
We love the direction this is all taking, and look forward to practical implementations of this technology.