The Eigenharp Alpha from Eigenlabs:
The instrument looks a bit like an “electronic bassoon”, but beyond the mouthpiece, long thin shape and wood finish, it is quite different. It has 128 discrete keys that are also sensitive to pressure and motion in two directions, several large heavier keys and continuous controller ribbons. As such, it has the potential to be a very expressive instrument.
There is also a small version, the Eigenharp Pico:
And a new intermediate version, the Tau:
I particularly like the sleeker, modernist design on the Tau.
I did hear some demonstrations, which showed the features of the instrument, but focused on very conventional sounds and performance techniques. There were standard software synthesizers with keyboard and wind control, percussion sounds and beats and patterns controlled by the keys. With so many degrees of freedom and the ability to map different axes of expression to different musical parameters, I would like to see such an instrument used to push musical expression in novel directions. To this end, it is great to see that they are making their SDK open source. The first extension I would recommend is an OSC (OpenSound Control) protocol interface.