July 22, 2013

Understanding the AlphaSphere

The Alphasphere is one of those instruments that leave people baffled and confused on first glance.  You look at this thing and you think of a few things – one of them is a disco ball light accessory, and the other one is a soccer ball.  The last thing you think of is a musical instrument.  The creators of the Alphasphere obviously knew that their idea would be revolutionary, but they never had any idea what the general public would think of it or how they would react.  Based on the design it should be clear to see what the developers were looking for when they built it.

On a normal box based controller, most of the controls are on the front facing panel, while only a few controls (if any) exist on the side or bottom of the box.  Because of this physical challenge – few developers are willing to use a different form besides the box.  The Alphasphere uses three dimensions to place and access various buttons – meaning that there are also controls that you cannot see from your regular standing up position.  Can this 3d system make up for the flaws that most box based controllers offer us?