LinnStrument is an expressive alternative to the MIDI keyboard controller. It does not generate any sounds but rather sends standard MIDI messages over its MIDI or USB jacks to any MIDI sound generator or software. But that’s where the similarity ends. Unlike a MIDI keyboard’s simple on/off switches, LinnStrument’s special multi-touch surface captures three dimensions of each finger’s movement, polyphonically, for a far greater degree of musical expression than can be achieved on a MIDI keyboard. In addition to providing standard strike velocity, typically finger pressure (Z axis) is used to vary note loudness, finger left-right (X axis) movement is used to vary pitch, and finger forward-backward (Y axis) movement is used to vary timbre.
Technically, each of LinnStrument’s rows is a continuous multi-touch sensor, capturing independent velocity, X, Y and Z-axis position for each of multiple touches. And all rows provide this capability simultaneously. On top of this sensor is a soft, translucent, 2 millimeter thick silicone rubber touch surface, with slightly raised note squares spaced 3/4 inches apart and high enough so you can feel where the notes are, but low enough to easily slide your finger left or right across multiple note squares for continuous pitch slides. Each note square has a 3-color LED that shines through to the surface, visually guiding you to the scale notes you seek.
For me as a musician, this is a really interesting and innovative way to play with MIDI. It looks like this will make live performing with digital synths and instruments a lot more doable and natural sounding.
I am really looking forward to see what can be accomplished using this technology.