Touchable holograms – the future of software interfaces?

At Liine we’re currently working on the next steps for Griid, thinking about its future as the ultimate touch controller for Ableton Live on iPad and iPhone. The fact that devices like the iPad are now affordable and accessible to everyone has huge implications for dynamic control of music software. Touchscreens will be with us for years to come, this is just the beginning. However, they won’t be the final destination but a stop along the way. Quite possibly a lengthy stop; enough time to grab a bite to eat, stretch your legs and have a good look around, but a stop nonetheless. I wonder if this team in Tokyo working on touchable holograms is looking at one of the next big advances?

At Liine we’re not only thinking about “what features?” but also “how?” – we’re always asking ourselves how to best interact with sound using a touchscreen. This is why, with Griid, we first focussed on the cliplauncher. Launching clips in Ableton Live is a task for which no hardware controller can compare. The touchscreen is dynamic and can change from one moment to the next, giving us all of the information we need. Our next steps for Griid are also focussed on methods of control which really take advantage of the iPad/iPhone touchscreen rather than simply taking a control device’s hardware counterpart and putting it on screen. Every object we develop is carefully designed and optimised for touch manipulation.


However, it’s interesting to think a few years into the future. How will these design decisions change when software interfaces can give us physical touch feedback? Could touchable holograms bring us one step closer to actual physical control but with all of the huge benefits of dynamic software interfaces? What do you think?

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