In 2007, Apple unveiled the original iPhone, which revolutionised not only the mobile phone but touch screen devices in general through its extensive use of a capacitive touch screen.
This technology allowed for accurate recognition of multiple fingers at the same time, removing the need for a stylus pen but requiring the use of finger protectors to use hygienically.
Apple claimed that they invented the technology but that technically is not the case, not just because they bought the company that did but also because the first multi-touch device was released three years beforehand.
In 2004, the French music technology startup company JazzMutant released the Lemur Input Device, which was a digital musical instrument controller similar to a MIDI controller that was designed for mixing consoles and synthesisers.
Up until that point, most audio controllers either had physical inputs or required a stylus, allowing only one input at a time and limiting the options for electronic music composers.
The Lemur allowed for up to ten different inputs, one for each finger, and so therefore could be used to interact with a wide range of different inputs at once, aided by the device’s interface editing capability.
One thing that was unique at the time and is still relatively uncommon with music controllers is the ability to alter the physical behaviour of these digital objects, allowing for faders to have more friction and resistance, equating to more stable, subtle movements.
It allowed for wider, more expressive usage of software synthesisers during a time when they were limited to editing suites rather than live performances.
It was very popular and influenced a wide range of different physical and digital music controllers. Unfortunately, it was also a victim of its own success, and the Lemur was discontinued once competitors with similar capabilities started to flood the market.