Review: ShuttlePRO Multimedia Controller

Short review: It just works. I love it. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a flexible USB input device. It looks like this:

Shuttle Pro 2

Longer review: I was in an Apple store with a friend this weekend who was buying a video iPod, and I saw the ShuttlePRO2 from Contour Design and bought it on an impulse. It’s pretty neat. Essentially, it’s a USB device with 15 input buttons and a jog/shuttle wheel for $99. I’m a sucker for interesting input devices; blame it on going to grad school at UNC-Chapel Hill, where one-of-a-kind input/output devices are commonplace.

The Shuttle Pro works with Mac or PC; I’m taking it in to work tomorrow to try with Linux. For Windows, it comes with a simple driver that lets you program each button to represent almost any keystroke. It also comes with a set of pre-printed labels and a set of blank labels; you can pry off the plastic top of each key with your fingernail to put a label under each button. Contour Design even provides template files for making professional labels. And did I mention that the controller just works? So I set the first four buttons to be h, j, k, l (the keys that you use to move left, down, up, right in vi).

Now I needed to do something with my controller. So it was time to install Python 2.4 and then Pygame, which provides Python bindings to the SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer) library. Pygame has some really nice tutorials too. Starting from the program in this tutorial, in less than an hour and in less than 40 lines of code, I’m controlling a bouncing ball with my new USB device:

Bouncing ball

And that was the beginning to a really fun, geeky weekend. 🙂

17 Responses to Review: ShuttlePRO Multimedia Controller (Leave a comment)

  1. I definitively I need one these… thanks for the advice Matt

  2. :g/spam/s//real content/g

  3. Hey Matt, Cool review. I have used these controllers for simulating iPod-style wheel input for media player prototypes. They are pretty hack-friendly even for high-level guys like me.

  4. Lovely.

    Sooooooo – what is the latest on the Big Daddy roll out 😉 ?

  5. Hey Stephen

    Talking about BigDaddy…

    Rumour has it that Matt mightbe on his way to be a BigDaddy for the first time 🙂

    That breaking happy news shall be announced on time and migrated to all Google’s Datacenters.. including

    Stay tuned 🙂

  6. I thought

    about one to add to my audio setup but i need some bigger keyboards and piano lessons more or one of those nice motorised beringer controll surfaces

  7. Harith, I’m happy being a daddy to a cat. 🙂

  8. > And that was the beginning to a really fun, geeky weekend.

    If you ever *do* become a Daddy, you can forget those for a good few years…

  9. It must be frustrating to blog on something that interests you only to get off-topic comments on the day job. I can’t imagine keeping up with all those buttons… but it looks good.

  10. wow Matt, sounds like you must have been really bored…

    Can you think of a practical use for something like this? It’s cool and all, but what purpose does it serve?

    It’s like the biometric authentication devices. My cousin has one on the computers in his basement… It’s not practical.

    I think if an intruder is already in your house, you have bigger worries than him getting on your computer..

    I’m trying to find a use for this controler, and other than perhaps winamp remote.. i’m drawing a blank.

  11. I’ve been considering one of those for a couple of years.. it is supposed to make video editing a lot easier by scroll wheeling through the timeline, rather than clicking and dragging, which often makes me run out of desk space to drag.. So that controller is supposed to be easier to use with programmable functions like cut cipy paste, etc…
    I got one of the colored video aditing keyboards, which made using adobe premier much easier and faster.. If I would just spring the extra hundred bucks for the shuttle then thing should be even smoother… thanks for the reminder of this cool device, now that I am doing more video work again, I may have to pick one of these up.

  12. Must…..have……….one…..of…………………………those!

    and Matt said “input”.

  13. Could you post an update if you have success with this input device and Linux?

    I’ve been thinking about buying a ShuttlePRO and making it work with baudline. So any Linux feedback you can share would be most appreciated. Thanks.

  14. Boy that’s pretty handy…
    group of 4 on top for cut/copy/paste/duplicate-selection
    then up/down/esc/left/right

    and the rest.. I can’t think of what I’d do with them yet but I’m sure they’ll be used for something.. maybe it would be useful to have a special ‘reboot active directory server’ button for days the users are bothering me (jk)

    It would be really handy if it allowed application specific profiles.. so for my remote-server i could use one set, for my dev app i could use another, and so on.

    Now if they’d just use the same tech as found in (kbd with oled-lcd’s for each key so they can dynamically change based upon app)
    .. then I’d be in heaven

  15. It seems great.And what do you think abour prices?

  16. I thought

    about one to add to my audio setup but i need some bigger keyboards and piano lessons more or one of those nice motorised beringer controll surfaces

  17. any linux progress ?