Idea for a TOUCH-sensor based Midi Fighter...
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Idea for a TOUCH-sensor based Midi Fighter...

    This is a design concept for a model of Midi Fighter that uses Touch Sensors (capacitive resistance) instead of arcade buttons. I know the Sanwa buttons are great and they're rated for 5 million presses, but in my experience, at some point those buttons do get gummed up and start sticking. And trust me, they -do- run into this problem sooner or later.
    (^ Forum post and video concerning "stuck" buttons.)

    The touch sensors would basically be the same thing as what's on most laptops, the mouse pad part... there are places to get these from so I can't imagine it being very hard to create a device like this.

    What are the benefits of touch sensors vs. buttons or rubber pads?

    * Touch is instant and always the same, imagine (or try) finger-dancing on an imaginary drumpad on your computer desk). You don't really need to be forceful like with most Akai-ish pads (I replaced the pads on my MPD18 with Thick Fat Pads from MPC stuff and added in their corx and it's -still- hard to get a hit sometimes, resulting in a 'miss'). Arcade buttons sit on springs, good springs yes, but they're not always of 100% equal height.

    * Laptop mouse pad sensors have X / Y tracking, so there's more potential in that than just a simple binary button.

    * A flat surface is easy to clean, just look at most Flat Top stoves. If there's no gaps, there's no way for dirt, animal hair, etc to get inside your switches and mess things up.

    Matías responded to my idea via email and said something about "drumming on a hard surface isn't good for your fingers." Well, the way I see it is kind of like the old Turbo Touch 360 controllers for the Original Nintendo, Super NES and Sega Genesis. Most kids who got those things started out being forceful with them, because they were expecting a typical D-Pad with moving parts, but after adjusting to it and realizing "it's a Capacitive Restiance touch sensor, I don't ~need~ to be aggressive with it, I just need to gently touch it." it was more fun to use, at least it was for me when I still had mine for my NES. I also have never experienced an injury from merely 'finger dancing' on my desk, lol.

    What kind of features would this device have?:

    * All rubber outer case except for the top (similar to the "legged" case used by the Midi Fighter 3D, no more plastic bottom plate to accidentally break)

    * 16 -square- shaped laptop style mouse sensor pads... (capactive touch sensor)
    Seen here ~

    * Lighting is achieved by using a clear plastic trim bordering each laptop mouse sensor pad, with an LED under that to provide illumination.

    * 4 "Bank Switch" buttons at the -top- of the controller (where the USB cord comes out,
    instead of at the bottom, like the MF3D).


    * A "Note Repeat" button (like the one found on the Akai MPD18, allowing for fast, repeating hits, can be turned on or off by the Pink button next to the Bank buttons.

    * 3 modes of use...

    "Single Note - Full" ~ treats each of the laptop mouse sensor pads as a single midi note, each hit is at level 127 (like turning on the Full Level setting on the Akai MPD18 - no velocity variance), activated / indicated by the Green side button.

    "Single Note - Expressive" ~ uses the X / Y of the laptop mouse pads to add velocity variance to your playing, a center hit is highest velocity, hits outside of center are lower in velocity, this mode is activated / indicated by the Blue side button (this arrangement mimics the way clicking on a pad in Reason's "Kong" virtual drum machine works).

    "Chaos Mode" ~ this treats all of the 16 laptop mouse sensor pads like a Korg Kaoss™ Pad, the X / Y can be used for phase sweeps or expressive instrument sliding, mode is activated / indicated by the Red side button.

    I think a device like this has a good potential, I really hope someone at DJTT sees this.... I mean, if something like the MF Twister can be seen and made a reality, surely this could too.
    Last edited by UoPoko; 07-30-2014 at 03:41 AM. Reason: 42

  2. #2
    Tech Wizard
    Join Date
    Sep 2013


    Now this is what I'm talkin' about....

    Video of the device being played.

    Place to get the touchpad assemblies from...
    (The pads in the above link are perfectly -square- and not rectangular like the ones in the image below).

    If this guy can do it, surely DJ TechTools could as well.
    Last edited by UoPoko; 07-09-2014 at 10:56 AM.

  3. #3


    If you are gonna do that, you might as well use an ipad running TouchOSC. I use external controllers because I need to feel the controls. I only keep my ipad as a backup in a live situation and it isn't pleasant trying to use it. It is really really easy to brush against it with the wrong part of your hand and accidentally trigger something and mess up the set.

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard
    Join Date
    Sep 2013


    I don't want to use an iPhone, or a Droid phone, though... that's a bit too small for my taste.
    No, what I am suggesting would basically be like an Akai MPD 18 but with touch panels...

    Did you look at the video of the other guy's creation???

    ^What he has there is basically 16 Korg Kaos pads.
    Yeah, they're laptop sensors, but with what he did
    that is essentially what he has...

    Now, even if you dumbed that down and it was just metal plates
    that used bio capacitance to sense your fingers, like this thing...

    I still think that would have advantages over the Sanwa buttons
    and Akai's pressure sensitive membrane (what is under the pads
    in an Akai MPD 18), touch is more instant... with the buttons, there
    is travel, time it takes before the button is triggered, some of the
    buttons trigger at a different height. That and the buttons can
    get ~stuck~ like the other video showed... (and what also
    happened to mine, the button took a while to pop out
    like something was interfering with the spring mechanism).

    Akai pads also don't always measure a hit...
    unless you're being super forceful, imo.

    Those touch plates would ensure that every
    button has the same point at which it gets
    triggered, they could never get "stuck."
    And hits would not ever be "missed."

    Personally I think it's a novel idea, whether or not
    you have the X / Y capabilities of the mousepad sensors.
    Last edited by UoPoko; 07-16-2014 at 04:10 PM.

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