Kaossilator on the cheap

We recently stumbled on a way to turn a regular laptop into a poor man’s Kaossilator. Using the touchpad of your laptop, some PureData software, Touchpad2MIDI and a couple custom patches, [zenpho] has set everyone up to create that crazy electronic music that kids listen to these days.

But what was that? You cant afford a whole laptop, and need to make this happen on an even tighter budget? Oh, we’ve got your back. Using just the trackpad and an Arduino, [Bastiaan] has created a basic PS2 to Arduino to USB link which can be parsed by your favorite language of choice into a working MIDI interface. Good news for all the lazy hackers out there, he’s planning on swapping out the Arduino for a Teensy, and making a real USB to MIDI interface.


  1. Dick Gobbler says:


  2. Dick Trickle says:

    Anyone above this line is a faggot.

  3. charlie murphy says:

    I love you dick trickle

  4. whatwhatinthebutt says:

    never heard of PD til now, sweet! thats how reactable was done. thanks for posting.
    are you working on any projects? do you know any good jokes?
    @productive people
    do you know of any DIY synth forums and proto bread board for programming pic diy forums? i need help on picking out pics. and can anyone help explain how to make rgb matrix cubes; if i have board of education stamp set 16 data i/o does that limit me to be able to control only 16 rgb leds. i understand that i could chain together more leds but then i think i would only be able to address rows persay and not every individual one. i now a little about pwm and need to learn more. help?

  5. Mr Bishop says:

    1/0th, ha I just blew your freaking mind.

  6. Brian says:
  7. DeFex says:

    LOL a MIDI XY pad does not make a kaossilator any more than a MIDI keyboard makes a Virus synth.

  8. Urza9814 says:

    @ whatwhatinthebutt

    Well, I can answer your LED question at least. There are multiple ways to do this, most of them taking advantage of the fact that LEDs will only light with current passing in one direction. Look into charlieplexing – AFAIK, that will get you the most amount of LEDs, though it’s also the most complicated way to do it.


  9. physic.dude says:

    The odd thing is that I already have that Kaossilator. it was like $200 at Best Buy.

  10. hackyday says:

    this is nicccce

  11. svofski says:

    Kaossilator is a very carefully chosen set of patches for a very sweet sounding analog-modeling synth. That, looping capability and rather clever and simple interface is what constitutes a K. You can also carry it around and play with it while commuting or whatever. People might get scared when it starts counting, though.

    Now what could be really interesting is if someone had figured a way to add a midi in and out and an audio in to Kaossilator. That would really expand the capabilities.

  12. Reggie says:

    A page with hi-res PCb images of the kaos-i-thingie


    and the general page behind it:


  13. supershwa says:

    Hmm. It never occurred to me that I could do something similar with my Wacom tablet…

    …ideas, ideas, ideas. Cool hack, btw!

  14. Brian says:

    @svofski: That’s what the Kaoss Pas is. The Kaossilator came later as a more stripped down version. If you go to the project I linked, there’s some discussion on implementing MIDI in and out.

  15. flatr0ze says:

    A shame it’s a Windows software.
    Does anybody know if it’s possible to make similar thing with GNU/Linux?

  16. therian says:

    Shame you don’t know definition of minority

  17. svofski says:

    Yeah, those Kaossilator mods are interesting but they’re still somewhat lacking. Not sure what I’d really like to see though. Perhaps a little tap to the CPU lines and a little board that selectively overrides the control and provides fully translated I/O through midi, with all instrument settings and the such: because the builtin synth can do much more than the few predefined patches. But that would be off the scale of a typical hack. Too much effort.

  18. fartface says:

    We built these back in the early 90’s with the old analog joysticks from the older non ibm pc’s. Some discreet logic to generate MiDi streams and suddenly you do the same thing with a joystick and a Midi synth.

  19. twig says:

    or you could just use this http://sourceforge.net/projects/partypad/

  20. walt says:

    do NOT click the “we’ve got your back” link. it takes you to instructables.com!

  21. svofski says:

    @walt: thanks for the warning! I never expect links to shock sites here but as it seems I should know better. Shame on you, HaD!

  22. Shazzam121 says:

    is there a way to make this work on a mac? like a mac version of the touchpad 2 midi software…

  23. Do says:

    midimouse for mac!

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