Physical iPad Interface With Knobs, Buttons And Sliders

Physical iPad Interface With Knobs, Buttons And Sliders

Modulares Interface B.A. offers unique control options, precision and haptic feedback to our digital devices

Simone Spilka
  • 15 december 2014

In the wake of the digital world, we decreasingly lose physical control of our products. Touch screens replace keyboards and apps replace instruments, but that’s not to argue that people have lost their desire or value for physicality. Most readers, myself included, still savor holding a magazine in my hand and turning the pages one by one.

Modulares Interface Physical Control


A desire for tactile feedback while interacting with multi-functional touch screens is exactly what led German Interaction Designer Florian Born to create Modulares Interface B.A. The project for iPad, an aluminum collection of physical buttons, replaces the digital interface to expand the user’s control over their mobile devices.

The system, which looks similar to DJ equipment, operates based on three different parts: the physical controllers, an iPad frame and software that runs from within an app. Physical knobs and sliders can be uniquely arranged and snapped together on the device to operate independently or congruently to one another. The magnet embedded frame allows the buttons to be displaced, which offers more precision for haptic feedback than fingers on a touchscreen. The conductive aluminum make up of the various parts cause a passing of electric discharge caused by human touch; an accompanying app transfers that modular information to the iPad. The process is demonstrated in the film below.

Inspired by the lack of improvement within the expansion of multi-touch devices, Born’s unique interface relates the data to the digital interface for multiple functions including sending email, reading the news and engaging in applications. Though the prototype highlights the current limitations of our finger controls, there are no signs of the school project coming to fruition for commercial life in the near future.

Florian Born / Modulares Interface B.A.


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