This isn't something new but I really like it. http://www.snyderphonics.com has created a touch controller that is around $700. It outputs (via USB) HID signal. With a HID to MIDI translator it can be used to control almost any MIDI software. Would love to have this in my arsenal.
The unique artistic look draws me to it vs. getting a monome or a novation launch pad.
photo credit: Vlad Spears
* 48 touch sensors in a 6 X 8 hexagonal array - each sensor can independently send both continuous control data and note-on/off events with velocity sensitivity simultaneously
* 2 assignable touch sliders
* 4 assignable touch-sensing function buttons with LED feedback - can be either momentary or latching
* USB device, showing up as a HID (Human Interface Device) to the operating system, and therefore will operate on Mac OS X, Windows (XP or Vista) and Linux without special drivers
* USB bus-powered - no additional power supply is needed. Peak current requirement is around 400mA, so if it's powered by a hub, the hub will need to be plugged in
* 68 user-controllable LEDs
* sturdy handmade wooden casing
* slim profile, 9.75" X 11.6" X 11/32" with no protruding knobs, buttons or sliders - fits in most laptop cases even with a laptop
* comes with a protective padded sleeve case
* low latency operation - around 5 ms
* completely made in the USA - including PCB fabrication, assembly, and woodworking
* electronics made to ROHS specifications (lead-free and without hazardous substances)
The Manta is easy to use as an input for software like Max/MSP or Supercollider, and a free program is provided with the Manta that allows any sensor to be routed to any MIDInote or continuous controller for interfacing with standard software like Abelton Live, Kontakt, Reason, Logic, or Digital Performer. The Manta is currently available for purchase through the order page (info and picture taken from the http://www.snyderphonics.com website without permision).