Monday 19 August 2013

Sensesurface - revolutionary new controls and surface for tablet computers

Sensesurface is a prototype technology that allows adding real control knobs to a laptop or tablet screen.
SenseSurface was first built in 2008 and  now (2013) updated.
These controls allow adjustment of parameters such as volume, time, brightness, etc, in fact any device  that would normally use a mouse. The LCD provides a graphic background.

There are no wires to obscure the screen as in other systems as here, below example from Studer:

 Applications include control of pc music synthesisers via MIDI,  music players, video players,  flight simulators, games.
In 2008  Lyndsay Williams, Director of Girton Labs, Cambridge,  designed a working proof of concept.

Click here is a 10 second  video of  a working  Senseknob from 2008

Here is a web  review.

Here is an example of some Sensesurface controls  made using a 3D printer:

This video and press coverage resulted in an overwhelming number of sales inquires which we could not supply as only a couple of working prototypes ever built.

This month, August 2013, we had more inquires. With advancing technology the design has now been completely redesigned with new wireless sensor technology. The original  technology worked well but we wanted more functionality.

2013 Sensesurface

larger prototype for testing

  • design for laptops and tablet pcs, initial testing on iPad
  • rotary controls, sliders, switches, touch sensors, tap, tactile rubber sensors,  games pieces 
  •  up to 1024 bits of resolution, response time  less than 10ms 
  • controls can be attached  at angle in relation to the screen
  • instant attachmen/removal  to screen, no marking
  • 360 degrees continuous rotation for rotary controls
  • robust sensor system, no interference with existing computer
  • can be used  on most surfaces not just LCDs
  • wireless - no cable, Bluetooth
  • output can be mouse interface, MIDI etc. 
  • typical size 22mm diameter or smaller
  • waterproof, can be washed
  • industrial strength drop proof
  • rechargeable lithium battery
  • all knobs have unique ID, and up to 16 controls can be used simultaneously 
  • cost goal  from around $10 per  control 
  • custom sensor technology details via NDA
Girton Labs is looking for interested partners to finance development, hardware and software and bring to the market. We have many sales leads from audio companies, medical companies,  partially sighted and the military.
Please contact Lyndsay Williams on +44 (0) 7970 101578, or email

Lyndsay Williams Girton Labs Ltd, Cambridge, England. 


  1. I am not familiar with the names of some device their. Glad that you shared this. I've learned some. Keep posting!

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  2. Hi, I had in mind same idea I exposed there : Do you see any chance to develop this idea ?


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