I’ve been experimentally designing and building control surfaces. Here’s an example playing with my kinetic chandelier @motusphera.
The top surface is CNC milled Corian which is has a cold stone-like feel. The base is zebra wood.
The ball is solid polished steel, with some good heft and momentum to it. I’m working on a capacitive touch area to change modes.
The top surface is unblemished, devoid of any through holes. The LED ring, (an Adafruit NeoPixel ring) is underneath, which is machined very close to the surface which provides great diffusion.
The real magic comes from the triple axis magnetometer, also from Adafruit (https://adafruit.com/product/4479) which is tracking a rare earth magnet that is in a channel under the surface. It follows the metal ball as it rolls around.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.