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Insert Coin: TouchKeys overlay brings whole new meaning to 'tickling the ivories'

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In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you'd like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with "Insert Coin" as the subject line.

Keyboards haven't changed much in the last, oh, few hundred years or so. You play a note by hitting and releasing it, use a pedal to sustain and change volume through the high-tech means of "bashing harder." TouchKeys wants to give you much more control with its touch sensitive, DIY stick-on overlays that can even sense multi-touch. While similar to what we've seen recently with the Roli Seaboard (which has rubberized keys that let you bend notes), TouchKeys can be added to most keyboards and would let you do even more, in theory. Similar to a smartphone screen, it senses up and down or side-to-side finger movements with up to three touches, all of which can be mapped mapped to different sounds or effects. For instance, you can create a vibrato by shaking your hand side-to-side, move up and down to bend notes, use multi-touch pinch and slide to change midi mappings, or play different sounds by multi-tapping.

Most of the kits sold will be DIY, meaning they'll come as self-installed peel-and-stick keys and sensors that fit standard-sized keyboards, starting at £330 for 25 keys. You'll also have to open up the keyboard to tuck in the narrow controller, but the company said it hasn't seen any models that don't work yet. If you're not inclined to futz around, you'll be able to buy a limited number of pre-installed kits starting at £660 with a Novation Impulse 25 keyboard. TouchKeys is looking for a relatively modest £30,000 as its funding goal, so if you're looking for the latest musical edge, hit the source.

Previous project update: Beacon Audio's Blazar Bluetooth speaker has blazed passed its $90,000 funding goal after less than a week with $116,000 in pledges.

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