It is unintentionally turning into “crowd-funded experimental keyboard week” here on CDM.
Miselu, the startup known for developing their own, custom Android-based hardware platform, now turn their attentions to iOS. Miselu’s Jeffrey Horton tells CDM they have suspended work on their existing hardware and “hope to resume android development when the time is right.”
This comes how on the heels of NDVR’s crowd-funding campaign for a unique new keyboard, and just as we’re finishing our review of the crowd-funded (now shipping) QuNexus. (Note: NDVR now has a new IndieGogo crowd-funding link; there was an error in the way the first campaign was set up.)
Instead, Miselu’s new C.24 is a two-octave keyboard primarily geared for iOS. (Other platforms will work, too – details below.) That sounds fairly conventional, but the design is anything but:
- It’s an iPad cover. The C.24 transforms from a “flat protective cover into a piano-style keyboard at the touch of a spring loaded latch.”
- Magnets make the action. Springs aren’t in the keyboard action, as they normally would be. In their place, “anti-polarity magnets creates the semi-weighted feel of the keyboard.” That should improve reliability, say Miselu.
- Optical sensors track the keys. As on the NDVR keyboard we saw this week, the C.24 also uses optical sensing to track key position.
- A ribbon controller adds expression and octave shift. This part makes loads of sense: the left-hand side of the ribbon lets you select octave, while the right can be used for continuous control – complete with LED feedback.
That’s a lot of ideas in one product, which means that the fact that this is crowd funded becomes a greater risk. We don’t know yet what it all feels like. (What it looks like is … strange. But that’s no worry if the feel is great and the mobility functions nicely.) The good news is, the financial risk isn’t so great: US$99 in the crowd funding gets you the keyboard when it ships in November.
Miselu has also said it will work on getting a test unit to CDM, so of course we hope to have a hands-on soon.
The connectivity picture also looks good, with wired and Bluetooth wireless connection. The latter will work with any class-compliant MIDI app on iOS. (Audiobus creator and app dev Sebastian Dittmann even gives the project a nod in their press release.)
Readers have told CDM that they don’t particularly like buying hardware just for the iPad; musicians often expect gear to work with desktops, too. And this will. Horton tells CDM “via micro USB it will be a class compliant MIDI controller. We are working to support Bluetooth low energy on Mac, Windows and possibly Linux compatible hardware, but don’t know if this will be ready by the time we ship in November.”
We’ll be interested to see this one.
On Kickstarter: C.24 – The Music Keyboard for iPad
Images courtesy Miselu.