Manta: a next-gen, touch-sensitive controller

Manta: it's cool and it knows it.
Manta: it's cool and it knows it.

Snyderphonics' Manta is a new 'touch-sensitive interface' that can be used for both music and video applications.

It's built around a 6 x 8 hexagonal array of touch sensors, each of which knows how much of its surface area is being covered by your finger. The data generated from this knowledge can be used to adjust any audio or video parameter you like.

This opens up myriad possibilities; you could, for example, assign each sensor to a different note in a scale, then use the surface area data to adjust volume. This would allow you to play chords with your hands and then tweak the level of each note with your fingers.

Other options include the ability to output centroid data (enabling you to turn the Manta into an X/Y multitouch controller) and computer-controllable LED backlights on each sensor.

Manta is said to be easy to use with the likes of Max/MSP, and those who purchase it also get a free utility that allows you to route its sensors to MIDI note or Continuous Controller data so that you can use it with your DAW.

The Manta is available in maple and walnut finishes - these cost $675 and $695 and can be ordered through the Snyderphonics website.

Manta features

* 48 touch sensors in a 6 X 8 hexagonal array - each sensor can independently send both continuous control data and note-on/off events with velocity sensitivity simultaneously
* 2 assignable touch sliders
* 4 assignable touch-sensing function buttons with LED feedback - can be either momentary or latching
* USB device, showing up as a HID (Human Interface Device) to the operating system, and therefore will operate on Mac OS X, Windows (XP or Vista) and Linux without special drivers
* USB bus-powered - no additional power supply is needed. Peak current requirement is around 400mA, so if it's powered by a hub, the hub will need to be plugged in
* 68 user-controllable LEDs
* Sturdy handmade wooden casing
* Slim profile, 9.75" X 11.6" X 11/32" with no protruding knobs, buttons or sliders - fits in most laptop cases even with a laptop
* Comes with a protective padded sleeve case
* Low latency operation - around 5 ms
* Completely made in the USA - including PCB fabrication, assembly, and woodworking
* Electronics made to ROHS specifications (lead-free and without hazardous substances)

(Via Synthtopia)

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.