UPDATE 10/19/18 : Stretch Goals Announced!
UPDATE 11/05/18 : First Stretch Goal Reached!
Cooler Master is proud to present ControlPad, an innovative new control method for gamers, creative professionals, musicians and everyone in between. Designed as a passion project from the ground up, ControlPad aims to change the way we interact with games and our most used applications by introducing analog control into a mobile keypad.
Let’s start with a simple question: how can we improve on our most commonly used input methods? The keyboard and mouse duo is accepted as standard for most PC games and applications, but it’s not without its limitations. How can we improve control?
Throughout the research process, we came across Lance, the creator of an ingenious new method of analog control for your keyboard. Aimpad technology gives mechanical keyboards the precision control normally found in devices such as gaming controllers, steering wheels, and aviation joysticks. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities. And did we mention mechanical?
Currently, the ControlPad prototype works great for gaming. It is plug-and-play, and your PC will recognize the ControlPad as a controller AND a keyboard. Therefore, games that come with controller support will most likely work with ControlPad. Some games might offer partial support.
The games found on that page feature full analog movement and work well with Aimpad technology. The developers of these games deserve a high five for being forward thinking PC developers and allowing analog movement and mouse aiming at the same time.
If a game isn’t on this list, it doesn’t mean it won’t work with ControlPad. It just means it either hasn’t been tested yet or may require some tweaking to behave properly.
Your crosshair can stay perfectly straight while walking in games like CS:GO, giving you a tactical advantage over regular keyboards.
Walk, run and creep all with a single, controlled press. Unlock the built-in functionality and play the way the games were meant to be played.
Get ultimate control of your speed while flying, and adjust pitch, yaw, and roll with just the keys on the ControlPad.
See how ControlPad can give you a clear, strategic advantage in a game like SUPERHOT.
We took our MK850 with Aimpad technology to PAX East to get people's feedback. Hear what they had to say.
"The Cooler Master ControlPad is one of the most interesting analog keyboard accessories we've come across."
"You can sprint at a full press and creep at a light touch. That's the power of analog and the benefits to gaming are clear."
"There are two 'precision rollers' along the top edge of the ControlPad that will no doubt be fan favorites."
"This opens up a world of new options, allowing single key presses to be used for multiple macros or to define different movements speeds in-game depending on key pressure."
"Cooler Master gives you a taste of this technology, and perhaps all you need on a dedicated accessory."
"If you thought Wooting was the only keyboard maker working on analog keyboard tech, think again."
With your feedback and help, we'd like to start working on dedicated software for creative professionals. Some examples of ideas our designers have come up with are below:
- Make production and editing applications more intuitive and useful on the fly.
- Apply presets, switch tools, adjust opacity - thickness, brush size, and more.
- Press key halfway down to start cropping. After making selection, press key all the way down to apply the crop.
To make ControlPad more usable with professional applications, we'd like to design and manufacture dedicated keycap sets. Here are ones that we're working on and would love feedback on which shortcuts you use most!
- Premiere Pro
How do we accomplish analog control in a mechanical switch? We measure how far down the mechanical switch is pressed using an infrared LED. The light emitted from the LED is reflected off the bottom of the key and an infrared sensor measures how much light is reflected. If a low amount of light is reflected we know that the key is at its highest point. If a higher amount of light is reflected, we know that the key is moving closer to the sensor.
Let's use a light switch analogy. In a digital input method, the controls are binary - the input controls whether an object is ON or OFF. Think of it like a standard light switch. A standard keyboard without Aimpad technology works this way.
In an analog input method, the controls have varying degrees of ON or OFF, depending on the intensity of their registering. Think of it like a dimmer light switch where you can control the intensity. This is how Aimpad functions.
Unlike mushy membrane switches that are common in most keyboards, ControlPad is equipped with linear mechanical switches instead. These offer a distinct advantage over membrane in virtually every way: more responsive, more accurate, and more durable.
We're offering two different red switches to choose from with ControlPad: Cherry MX and Gateron. Red, linear switches work best with ControlPad since the main purpose of analog switches is to able to fine tune your movement. With tactile brown switches or clickly blues, the bump and activation point won't serve a purpose since it is analog control with varying degrees of activations. Both Cherry MX and Gateron are renowned for durability and longevity.
Once we have software fully fleshed out, you'll be able to mix and match 16.7 million colors. and set lighting schemes to match with applications.
Four dedicated profiles let's you switch on-the-fly between programmed hotkeys and shortcuts for different games or applications.
Cooler Master is a global computer components company with an outstanding record in releasing innovative products that truly advance the consumer PC industry. Since our founding in 1992 as a thermal pioneer responsible for the first ever copper heatsink with heatpipes, through our evolution into a manufacturer of cutting-edge cases and peripherals, Cooler Master has consistently rewarded its customers and fans with the utmost in innovation, choice, and control.
Even though we've come a long way since our humble beginnings in a garage, we still can't help but be inspired and excited for those who display the same DIY spirit.
Why is Cooler Master using Kickstarter to gather customer feedback?
We have robust in-house design, testing, and manufacturing facilities. For cooling, power supplies, PC cases, keyboards, mice and headsets, we have decades of experience in developing and bringing gaming PC products to the masses. But creating products that also benefit professionals and content creators is not something we have really dabbled in yet. We’ve spent a lot of time working on ControlPad already, researching the possibilities and refining the pressure sensitive technology to make it completely ready for mass production. By using Kickstarter and getting valuable feedback from backers though, we’re able to confirm what we’ve researched and developed as well as find out what we might have missed and incorporate that into the product software. Your critical feedback, diverse backgrounds, and wide range of perspectives will enable us to make the software perfect to meet the most needed functions of the community.
Why is Cooler Master using Kickstarter first instead of testing beforehand?
Launching on Kickstarter will enable us to access a wider range of users and Kickstarter’s vast innovation database from our non-traditional community. We do not need the money like a startup does. We fully and honestly acknowledge this. But by using this method to get feedback and first launching on Kickstarter, we’re able to offer the product at a discounted price than the product we’ll mass produce. We believe if people are willing to first support the technology before it hits mass market, they’ll most likely be highly motivated, rigorously use the product, and get the most use out of the product. This will result in better feedback for us to improve the software and overall user experience with ControlPad.
How will Cooler Master collect and integrate backer’s feedback?
Kickstarter lets us easily collect feedback via multiple channels. After backing the project, comments can be posted directly to the campaign page. We can also send out surveys to our backers to get feedback on things such as:
- Aesthetics/ergonomic design
- Feedback on keycap sets (FPS, racing, Photoshop, etc)
- Default profile keymapping for different applications/games
- Desired functionality in software
- Level of software support (Open Source, SDK, etc…)
- Operating system support (Mac OS, iOS, Chrome OS, etc…)
Our ControlPad team has been cataloging and pouring over all the suggestions already made. We’re extremely excited about all the information we’ve received and are looking forward to more!
Risks and challenges
Our experience in the industry and manufacturing gives us a leg up in tackling this difficult task of infusing Aimpad into mechanical switches. We've already done this. So in terms of bringing this product to life, rest assured.
Instead, one of our biggest challenges lies in the fact that we haven't fully realized the potential of ControlPad. We understand the capabilities it can present to gamers and professionals, but to what degree, we’re unsure. That’s why we want community involvement and feedback to create incredible software to meet the needs and wants of gamers and creative professionals.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)