bela Gliss: expressive touch meets computation in crowd-backed Eurorack module

bela has unveiled its new Eurorack module, a light-up, high-precision touch controller with pressure and looping.

This isn’t the only touch module for Eurorack – but this one is unusually capable. That’s thanks both to bela’s high-accuracy expressive touch sensors, which it calls Trill, and some powerful computation behind it – a Cortex-M4F (32-bit ARM).

The interface is an exercise in minimalism, freeing up nearly all of its 4HP, 3U space for the touch sensor. With just a single button and that touch interface:

  • Record gestures of up to one minute in duration
  • Pressure-sensitive – both position and pressure can be control voltages
  • Play a five-button keyboard
  • Use two-finger gestures to control the two CV outs independently (for two different levels)
  • Backlit LED for visualization – 24 addressable LEDs
  • Button with bicolor input
  • Visualize and process CV or audio (via the input jack)

They’re using a Cypress Capsense sensor with sub-millimeter accuracy.

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Since this comes from bela, it’s all updateable and hackable. The fact that you can address the lights and that you can use that push-button means you could hack in some other modes here. (They also indicate that you can scale and offset CV outputs – no idea how, but I’m guessing that’s more button presses?)

The other nice use case here – draw in waveforms for wavetables. That’s fabulous for performance and sound design, as up to this point the task has tended to be either a process of flashing in something via USB or turning a bunch of encoders and menu diving.

It’s the most functionality I’ve ever seen packed into a single module for expression. I’m excited to see this. The design will also be open-source hardware, under a CC-BY-SA license, with GPL-licensed firmware.

The crowdsupply page offers a ton of interesting details. If the hardware folk among you are asking questions about components and fab and (in this day and age) fulfillment and supply chain, that’s all there:

Plus if the touch sensing aspect interests you, check Trill, too – which is also getting a set of updates in parallel. Don’t like long rectangles? They’ve got rings and hexagons and a flexible sensor, too:

$139, including ribbon cables (excluding tax/duty where applicable) for the module.

Backer options include the various sensors, too.

What you will need is some patience – everything is expected to ship on May 1, 2023.

More on their blog:

Gliss Modular Touch Control

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