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RE: MIDIMAN Surface One

At 5:23 PM -0400 10/11/01, CarlJacobson@cakewalk.com wrote:
>I've seen prototypes of this at Winter and Summer NAMM this year.
>Absolutely amazing. This is going to be a revolutionary product.

I don't know if I'd call Surface One "revolutionary" - it's quite 
similar to the Buchla Thunder - but it will certainly fill an 
important niche in the real-time controller world. What IS 
revolutionary is the underlying technology, a fiber optic smart 
fabric from Tactex, Inc. For the last couple years Tactex have been 
showing at NAMM. They have their own controller, the MTC Express, and 
they have OEM deals with other manufacturers. MIDIMAN is the first 
company whose product I've seen.

The remarkable thing about the smart fabric is that it can detect 
multiple points of contact (e.g. several fingers pressing it at 
different points) and this allows a sort of "polyphonic" performance 
to be detected and transmitted. There is currently a Max object to 
facilitate this, when used with the MTC Express.

It doesn't look to me like the Surface One is particularly designed 
to exploit this multi-point pressure sensing, since the smart fabric 
is masked by the the chassis cutouts to channel finger and thumb 
contact within narrow zones (I believe that "under the hood" it 
actually IS behaving as a multi-point sensor, since I think there's 
only one piece of fabric under the whole face plate). However, the 
name "Surface One" suggests that down the line there may be a 
"Surface Two."

Anyway, I'm sure it will be a great product. I have a lot of respect 
for MIDIMAN as a company, and I think Tactex is a real "comer" as 



Richard Zvonar, PhD
(818) 788-2202