Seaboard Grand continuous controller allows note bends and swells
A design-led technology start-up from London, ROLI, have introduced a really unusual new musical instrument and digital controller, called the Seaboard Grand.
ROLI claim the Seaboard Grand is "the first electronic instrument to enable control of a wide variety of parameters through traditional techniques for expressiveness and virtuosity."
The instrument has a three-dimensional surface that adopts the key layout of a piano, but is more curved and made from a single piece of soft pressure-sensitive, seemingly foamy, plastic. Seaboard Grand is not entirely dissimilar to the Continuum Fingerboard from Haken Audio, but where ROLI's instrument differs is in its elevated keys, which will feel much more familiar to keyboard players, than the Continuum's flat playing surface.
The makers of Seaboard Grand say it authentically simulates instrument articulations such as note bends and swells, which can be used to create expressive performances on the fly.
The Seaboard is powered by the 'SEA' Interface, a patent-pending technology developed by ROLI that enables "seamless transitions between discrete and continuous input, and captures three-dimensional gestures while simultaneously providing the user with tactile feedback."
See the video on ROLI's website to see the Seaboard Grand in action.
A limited edition of 88 Seaboard Grands will be available for pre-order worldwide starting in April 2013. Each Seaboard Grand will be hand-assembled to order in the ROLI studio in Dalston, East London, and, in recognition of its provenance, each will be named after a particular note on the piano keyboard, from A0 to C8.