ROLI Seaboard RISE is like 3D Touch for musicians

Instrument manufacturer ROLI has revealed its latest electronic oddity, the Seaboard RISE, a keyboard controller that does to piano keys what 3D Touch does to the iPhone. Distilling 2013's Seaboard GRAND into a portable form-factor, the RISE hooks up to your software synth via Bluetooth and can be played not only as a keyboard but as a continuous touch-surface, with no differentiating between the keys.

That means the sort of smooth glissandos you can create with a flute, cello, or other instrument are also possible. ROLI calls its technology SEA Interface, and it's basically a fully touch-sensitive, pressure-tracking deformable surface.

So, while you can play the RISE's keys as you would a traditional keyboard controller – pumping MIDI commands into your OS X or Windows app of choice – you can also slide your finger along, wiggle your fingertip to add whammy-bar style wobble, or even program complex gestures.

Along the side are touch-sensitive controllers for the five different dimensions RISE recognizes.

ROLI also includes its own software synth, Equator, to get the most out of the keyboard. Unlike the considerably larger GRAND – which could be had in 37, 61, or 88 key layouts – the Seaboard RISE is designed to be tucked under an arm and transported.

It's under an inch thick, and comes complete with a case. However, while GRAND could be played independently since it had Equator built-in, RISE doesn't have its own onboard sound source.

The Seaboard RISE is up for preorder now, priced at $799.99. According to ROLI it will ship from October 9.