If you ever tried to control Ableton Live and maybe some synth and effects with a mouse, you will know that there’s much to improve in terms of usabilty. Laptop-musicians dream of some hardware-controller solution that gives them buttons to trigger the sounds from their laptop, like samples, arrangements, effects and so on.
Now here is one fascination toy: Monome40h. It consists of 8×8 touchpads that are programmable via an open-source controlling routine which turns them into keys, radio groupings, virtual sliders, etc., to communicate with ableton live, reason, cubase, logic and alike. To read more and watch a video
It’s not only flexible, it’s also very stylish and very handmade. The guys documented the whole manufacturing process. It’s 500$ and right now they cannot satisfy the overwhelming demand. In their forum they communicate directly with the people.