The announcement this week that Pearl will begin selling products from Keith McMillen Instruments portends a great future for products such as BopPad, a usb-powered MIDI controller made from smart-fabric sensor technology used for everything from VR helmets to musical instruments.

BopPad was announced in 2017 but released this year. It’s been called the world’s most responsive smart-drum pad, interpreting hand and finger gestures as well as sticks and mallets with accurate hit detection, velocity, continuous radius and pressure at a speed of 2.4 milliseconds with four independently programmable zones with MIDI output.

Detects All Styles of Drumming

Gestural and hand techniques are difficult to replicate on an electronic drum. Prior to BopPad, most drum pads for controlling synthesis were mostly limited to sensing a simple stick hit. BopPad has an extremely wide dynamic range, sensing all styles and pressures of drumming from delicate finger strikes to full-on aggressive stick assaults. BopPad’s tuned elastomer surface covers a 10″ circle of BeBop Sensors’ patented Smart Sensor fabric, giving drummers a traditional feel combined with a whole new dimension of expressiveness.



Hybrid Or Electronic

BopPad’s continuous piece of smart-fabric is divided into multiple zones that are responsive to continuous pressure and location. It’s list price of $199 makes it an affordable way to add a dynamic electronic element to your kit or demo station.

At its introduction, BeBop Sensors CEO Keith McMillen said, “BeBop needed a way to test its Generation 8 Smart Sensor Fabric in a large format, and satisfying the needs of percussionists while surviving the repetitive hits seemed like a great product idea.”

KMI President Evan Adams said, “KMI is known for our ultra-expressive synthesizer controllers. Many artists complain that electronic music is mechanical and lifeless, but that is due to the interface between the musician and computer. If the synth controller can only turn a sound off and on, it will never sound natural. BopPad solves this problem.”

—Phil Hood