The flat, egg-shaped Pulse is described as "virtual reality" music controller. Inside the ovular frame, is a circular play surface that uses a number of sensors to let you interact with it in a number of ways. Bang it like a drum, poke it like a piano or -- thanks to a 3D sensor -- float your hand above it like a theremin. The multiple input options also let you, for example, strike a drum at different strengths, dampen the sound with your hand, then jump into a piano solo on the hop. Perhaps more exciting, is the claim that Pulse can even recognize the type of drumstick, or specific hand-gestures you're throwing at it, allowing a mix of traditional "playing" with a dash of 2015 gesture-control.
Controllers that do "a bit of everything" aren't new. Many modern MIDI devices come with a mix of pads, faders, touch controls and so on. There are also devices like the Instrument 1 or Jamstik that require musical skill to play. Pulse seems to be going after both camps. There's a library of cross-platform software instruments, plus compatibility with most music composition software (Ableton Live, Logic Pro etc.). The support for modern software, and the intriguing 3D-senso, combined with the emphasis on performance should help it appeal to instrumentalists and button-pushers alike.
At approx $1,140 (it's priced at £750) for the early birds, and unto $1,520 for the decked-out Light edition, versatility, it seems, comes at a price. That said, a top end bassoon will cost much much more, and Pulse way more portable than that bass drum.