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Yep, any number of other controls besides knobs would work under the same basic principle. A linear slider control would be an obvious one, as would calculator-style membrane buttons.

I'd be surprised if the concept weren't already patented, though, just because the idea of a generalized capacitive control surface seems fairly obvious, and the patent office doesn't really apply an "obviousness" test. What definitely surprises me is that, patented or not, I can't just go out and buy these sorts of controls.

These are great ideas! Tbh I think that much of the reason that these don't exist is the configurability of software UIs - these controls in Linux/ Windows/ OSX would need to be specifically programmed for by the programmer, rather than say in Squeak by the users. Breaking down that user/ programmer barrier is key I think.

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