UPDATE: Playing piano with optical sensors

[Sebastian Steppeler] has been hard at work on his optical sensors for an electric piano. When we looked in on the project back in October he was testing reflective sensors to increase responsiveness and MIDI data resolution for his electric keyboard. Since then he’s finalized the sensor circuits and produced enough boards to monitor all 88 keys on this full keyboard. You can see the string of PCBs just above the ivories, waiting to be installed. Not only are then in, but he also added sensors for the pedals.

Because the boards were installed by hand, there are some variances in the physical placement. This can have a rather dramatic effect on the readings from the reflective sensors so he has been working out a method of balancing the calibration. Part of this is already being taken care of by the C# interface that he wrote for a PC. Take a few minutes to check out all of his blog posts, then jump down after the break and hear how great it sounds.

Comments

  1. John P says:

    Will there be files posted? i.e. pcb/code?

  2. CRJEEA says:

    Bravo well done nice performance, I really wish I could play that well (: (I do beilive that I am inneed a little more time to practice though)

    Secondly: nice hack seems to work very smoothly (:

  3. ejonesss says:

    thats nothing new the nintendo uforce worked the same way

  4. sebion says:

    @John P: If there is enough interest I will think about cleaning up the code and releasing it as open source hardware.

  5. blue carbuncle says:

    Good work! It can be quite hard to “nail” the notes on a theremin. I imagine it is much easier for a robot with all of their exact measurements and such. Neat to watch as well! Just the kind of thing Lev would have loved to have seen :) Keep up the nice project!

  6. blue carbuncle says:

    D’oh had two tabs open to comment on. Maybe Caleb or someone can remove my other post. Had yours open too to congratulate you on the hard work! Man, I wish I had your follow-through ability. I had tried monkeying with improving PPQN resolution on a couple of pieces of old gear after reading about some of Squarepusher and Aphex’s gear. Didn’t have much luck (turns out it was physically impossible with the gear I was using-found out years later on “broadband” internet lol. Good on ya for coming up with a concept and following through no matter what. World needs more folks like you :)

  7. Bernhard says:

    good work and interesting project to play a piano

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