Overlay Switcher Overlay

For makers the magnet concept seems to be not so easy to implement. Iterating with paper overlays is nice for experiments - but those usually have no magnets.

It would be cool if Sensel could sell an “overlay switcher overlay” with buttons and numbers on these between e.g. 1-128. This could be put on the Morph. When pressing the corresponding button it switches the “no overlay” or the “Innovator’s overlay” configuration to one of 128 slots. And these slots could be assigned to 128 different custom layouts and mappings in the SenselApp. Whether Innovator’s overlay or no overlay slots should be toggled could be a configuration option of the overlay switcher overlay in the sensel app.

So to switch between two paper overlays all one would have to do is to put the “overlay switcher overlay” on the Morph, press the button of the desired custom overlay and then replace the overlay switcher overlay with that custom overlay (which doesn’t need any magnets).

Enabling the ability to define custom layouts right away for “no overlay” would help to make the process even more convenient - then we wouldn’t always have to set the “no overlay” preset to “Innovator’s overlay” and do the actual layout in the Innovator’s section.

1 Like
  1. I think I read about one of the overlays already having built-in functionality switching. So you’d press a button and it’d shift to a different configuration for that overlay. So it may be possible for them to simple expand that functionality.

  2. What might be easier is if they just set aside a certain number of custom overlays in their magnetic encoding scheme, and let people use those as they see fit.
    The following is my speculation since they have given little information on the topic: If I’m right there’s 4096 unique magnetic codes they have available - 8 unique configurations per quadrant. Probably wouldn’t hurt to set 128 of those aside. But if we brought the number of custom overlays down to 64 instead, then you’d only need to change the upper two quadrant magnets to cycle between them. Additionally it shouldn’t be difficult to paper prototype with magnets - just have 4 (specially measured) circles in a horizontal line in each detection quadrant, then just place one magnet in each quadrant, filling one circle in each quadrant with a North/South side visible.

However companies are often not ones to pivot quickly, especially when they only have a few programmers on hand. Here’s hoping they open up custom magnetic encoding sooner than later.

Yepp, the ability to optionally directly access these additional custom layouts via magnet encoding would of course be great!
Realistically the “maker equipment” of many people starts with a paper-based printer, a scissor and ends with some kind of glue. So switching between simple paper overlays that have no magnets with this “overlay switcher overlay” might not be as convenient as dedicated instant-switch magnet encoding on all overlays. But I think it would help the “normal, interested but not-so-DIY-affine” people to make experimenting with different layout ideas a little more fun.

Why switch overlays to switch overlays?

We just need a “switch to specific overlay” button in the editor. Then we can set up a small strip of buttons along the top on our paper overlays, and make those buttons consistent between our paper layouts.

Just based on the piano overlay, I’m guessing we could reliably place 25 buttons in that strip. Those are probably sufficient.

And then if you want to get extra fancy, go ahead and manufacture an “innovator’s overlay 2” with physical buttons, or a small barrier to prevent us from accidentally triggering the paper ones.

(Anyway, you’re thinking of the Buchla Thunder overlay. It has all kinds of custom scripting which, as of NAMM at least, there were no plans to expand the editor with those capabilities.)

Having such a button that can be assigned to any area would also be nice.
The idea behind the “overlay switching overlay” was that you don’t have to waste space on your overlays for “switches” to other overlays: Imagine you are in the experimentation phase and have printed out 10 overlays (yours or from the community) that you like to play around with. With the overlay switcher overlay you could toggle at will between these (putting them either under the Innovator’s overlay, use a paper bag like in the Continuano example etc.) No need to modify the overlays to add buttons to switch around, the full space can be used for overlay specific functionality. And later on the overlay could be printed to better material (e.g. via a 3d printer, neoprene etc.) and magnets added - exactly with the layout tested on paper.

That said, the switching buttons you mention could also be cool - essentially to switch modes for a single overlay. But that is as I understand it another use case.

If I understand correctly…
You’d like to be able to store several Innovator Overlay maps in the Morph’s memory, and switch among them. Sort of like the presets on the Thunder overlay, but it would change the physical layout as well as the MIDI mappings.
An alternative to this would be to allow the magnets in the Innovator’s overlay to be physically modifiable, so you could have your own set of swappable custom overlays, rather than the single custom map the Innovator’s overlay allows.
Is this a reasonable summary of this thread?

1 Like

Yes, good summary :slight_smile:
The Innovator overlay with movable magnets sounds like a good idea!
The overlay switcher overlay would also allow to switch between several custom layouts for “no overlay” though.

Ok, glad I understood :slight_smile: We’ll log this stuff in our suggestion queue!


In this scenario, I still don’t want to throw on an overlay to press one button.

What I’d want instead is for the Morph to, say, listen for program change messages on its USB MIDI endpoint, and toggle between “presets” (to adopt Peter’s terminology) when those messages arrive.

This would technically limit you to 128 presets per overlay, but if we’re testing more than 128 design iterations concurrently, we have deeper problems than this thread has yet touched on.

+1 for this idea. I should have done my homework before buying. I assumed the innovators overlay would be able to switch to different configurations without hooking up to a PC and the Sensel App.

If there was an iOS Sensel app, this would be less important, but still nice to have.

Really good idea. I assume that if you are willing to tinker you could (instead of directly having to wire to a computer) have the morph wired to an Arduino or a Teensy and have different profiles stored there, right? now granted, every time you have a new configuration, coding it is not as intuitive as using the Sensel App but it could be pretty cool for live performances. I would actually like to implement this once I receive my morph, I will reply to this thread if I make any progress!