Keith McMillen Instruments ( has released SoftStep (US$289.99), which it says is the first universal multi-touch USB/MIDI foot controller. It can be used with an effects racks or software programs.

SoftStep weighs in at just over a pound and fits into most laptop and guitar cases. Ten sensor keys support five degrees of motion such as up/down, left/right, inc/dec, pressure and rotary motions that can be preprogrammed to control effects, software, or multimedia.

SoftStep also has a four-direction navigation pedal, an alphanumeric LED display, and backlit keys. It connects to a computer through USB and contains Expansion and Expression ports. With the MIDI expansion module, SoftStep can be used with or without a computer (Mac or PC) to connect to external MIDI hardware.