Flexi Knobs

These boxes, called Flexi Knobs, work like a wireless Atari paddle and mouse rolled into one. Each has a rotary encoder that can also be clicked like a button. On the inside is a wireless optical mouse which controls an on-screen cursor which matches the color of the knob. In the video after the break you can see these are being used as midi controls. Each cursor can be locked onto a virtual knob, giving it a physical interface. Because there are several units being used on one machine this creates something of an abstract multi-touch system. This would make a nice interface for other applications with a plethora of settings, like Blender.

Comments

  1. Regulus says:

    Ah, ok.
    It’s still one system mouse cursor at a time on screen, but each device an control it in turn.
    This is pretty neat, but I’d much rather have one mouse-like device and a lot of colored knobs on a large board.

    Let the mouse assign knobs just as it is doing here, but simplify the devices.

  2. dave says:

    Good start. The box needs to be a magnetic sheet, though, so I can build my own instant control panels for something like blender and gimp.

  3. fartface says:

    They make those. Virtual DJ uses several. And most non crappy synth apps also will use them.

    They are dirt cheap as well considering.

  4. Paul Potter says:

    Superb idea.

    And I see that Mac is running Windows. :)

  5. AO says:

    Really nice looking devices! Not sure how practical the result really is, though, compared to a larger midi controller. I like the idea of more than one person being able to interact w/ the software, could make for some interesting conflict in the studio ;)

  6. taylor says:

    This just reminds me of how much I wish there was a simple solution for giving a virtual machine its own mouse. For simple tasks like web browsing, most computers nowadays are plenty powerful. If you ran multiple displays and gave each display its own mouse and keyboard, you could turn one computer into many for cheap use with a group, for something like use in a library or in a poor country.

    Anyone know if this can be done in Linux, maybe just with multiple x sessions and not actually needing to use virtual machines?

    I haven’t found a good solution for windows, sadly.
    -Taylor

  7. blizzarddemon says:

    Wish they had something like this for photoshop, except for the mouse being assigned a brush with preset conditions or an eraser.

  8. isama says:

    @ taylor: i’d sugest looking at multiseated X

  9. yosh says:

    There is multicursor support for the X server :)

  10. neorazz says:

    didn’t anyone see “the box ” if you push that button someone will die

  11. Whatnot says:

    On windows, GlovePIE has this listed as capability:
    “You can even use it to control multiple mouse pointers with multiple mice.”

  12. yalin says:

    @Taylor: look for nComputing devices. http://www.ncomputing.com/

  13. grovenstien says:

    I like it, at the click of a button the flexi knob becomes stiff!

  14. hunnter says:

    Using Blender right now, i’m totally hearing you on that one.
    Blender is a great example, the ability to hook on to all the various dimensions you can browse through would be really nice.
    No more mess with trying to switch between dimensions.

    And on the multiple mouse thing and virtual machines, totally agreed on that.
    The single mouse system is depressingly limiting input ideas.
    And OSes in general need to have better support for multiple points of focus, such as having focus across multiple windows at the same time.
    Why has input been limited to a single point for so long?
    The ability to hook a second, third or X mice to a window, for example, would make editing on several types of media so much easier.
    The scrollwheel was a welcome addition to the mouse, no more wasted time having to go to the scrollbar, or move your hand to the navigation keys.
    There is a lack of horizontal scrolling though… it is less important for most things admittedly, but still.

    I remember seeing a video years back (7-10-ish) of something like this, on one hand, a graphics artist had a trackball, the other, a mouse.
    A toolbar was hooked on to the mouse, trackball to the cursor. (toolbar was specifically written to take advantage of being able to move around, such as click-through events that will target the window and the canvas in that sequence, one click Fill was an example)
    Simple things like this can go a very long way in saving time.
    Wish i knew more about it, but i lost it when my old laptop died.

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