Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kickstart the Week: Pallette Freeform Controls

One of my favorite things to do is explore Kickstarter in all the areas because there is just so much innovation and cool ideas. Mind you a lot of the times you'll get 7 different iphone cases that are more or less the same thing but made of a slightly more rare wood, but then you'll come across something uniquely as cool as Pallette.

Pallette is a customizable hardware controller for your computer that redefines how you interact with your programs. Consisting of buttons, knobs and sliders that not only allows you to individually program to a particular task per application, but they can also physically be rearranged in a configurment to your liking. Using tactile physical controls programed to specific tasks in programs like Photoshop would allow for you to have more precise control over the settings when working, changing how work is done to your needs as opposed to you having to conform to the existing standard.

Custom setup for photo editing
What I like about this is its versatility and being able to use it across multiple programs and applications as opposed to just one. While in many ways it would make sense to use this for creative professional work, it also has endless possibilities  for using it with gaming. Imagine setting up a full rig to replicate the cockpit of a mech or a flight sim and having a much more immersive experience while playing. Imagine a future where Spaceteam was available for PC/Mac/Linux and you can use these controls to fly your space team to success. More realistically is that a controller like this could allow for greater adaptability of applications for people with disabilities who might otherwise have a difficult time with a task as designed within the program, but with a slider control associated with that same task may allow for them to do so much more.

An over-the-top setup
The price point on this is a bit steep ($99 CAD for 4 components - a power supply, 1 button, 1 knob, 1 slider) and it only goes up from there, so that theoretical Mech control console I spoke of might end up costing you as much as an actual Mech (used though, a new state-of-the-art Mechs prices are highly inflated). But new tech is never cheap. This campaign (as of this writing) is almost $4k over its funding goal of $100,000 and with another 26 days to go it likely will only skyrocket. I would be interested in seeing if they opt to offer stretch goals like campaigns typically do with board games, but considering the tech side of what might be required adding on free modules may not be viable. Surprisingly electronics can be more expensive than card board.

Direct Link to the Pallette KS Campaign

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