There's no denying it: the AlphaSphere looks like a furturistic disco ball. However, it's actually a highly innovative music-making gadget.
You pick it up, and you manipulate its 48 pressure-sensitive pads. Run the AlphaLive software on your computer and you can map scales of MIDI notes on to the pads, making it a true instrument, or set the pads to trigger and manipulate audio files, making it a controller.
In Sequencer Mode, you can program up to eight sequences of notes for each pad, switching between them by varying pressure on the pads’ stretchy membranes. Combine sequences on some pads, MIDI notes on others and sound samples on still others, and you’ll create music so complex and new that you’ll need to be on some kind of 23rd-century mindspice to understand it.
It also has responsive LED lighting – handy for knowing which pad is which. Pricing has yet to be announced.