Griffin Powermate
On the search for minimal and at the same time powerful tangible user interfaces I came across Griffin’s PowerMate, a USB controller with programmable actions that works under Linux, OSX and Windows.

PowerMate is a mix of a push-button and a turning knob without intermediate stops or endpoints. It can sense push and direction of rotation.

Colleagues of mine used it to measure continuous user responses in an assessment study for video quality, but you can also use it as volume knob plus mute button in music players, as jog wheel for movie or sound editing or as quick control for your favourite application. Your imagination is the limit. The following actions are programmable:

  • left and right rotation
  • short and long button click (including adjustable click length)
  • led brightness and pulse frequency

Drivers for OSX >= 10.6 and Windows XP and up are available at Griffin’s website. Linux kernels newer than 2.4.21 come with an in-kernel driver and user-space utilities are available here.