MIDI Air Drums let you play anywhere


[Maayan Migdal] wrote in to share a really cool drum kit he constructed that has one special twist – no drums at all. Using a simple MIDI device and an Arduino, his “Air Drums” look pretty sweet.

The hack makes use of a pair of garden rakes, which serve as his drum sticks. The rakes were cut down and modified to allow the addition of accelerometers and some USB cables. The left stick contains a single accelerometer for registering hi-hat hits, while the right stick is armed with a pair of the modules, which are used to trigger snare and crash symbol strikes. He modified a pair of sandals to fit better while drumming before adding a sensor to each shoe. The left sandal contains an accelerometer to register bass drum hits, while the right shoe uses a light sensor to simulate the use of a hi-hat pedal.

We think that the results are awesome, but feel free to check out the video below to see what we mean. If Guitar Hero wasn’t dead in the water on hiatus, we think this sort of setup would make a great replacement for the flimsy drum set that comes with the game.

25 thoughts on “MIDI Air Drums let you play anywhere

  1. Nice build, I really liked how the video was put together :D (+Diagrams).

    I wanna make a pair of USB sandals <_<

  2. Just a small correction needed – it’s not Rock Band that is on hiatus, it is Guitar Hero.

    Rock Band is still going strong with DLC being released every week.

  3. Cool, but I think he needs to swap shoes. Hi-hat pedal is usually the left foot and the left hand. Bass is the right foot.


    I’m usually pretty bored with the music hacks (because I’m not really into music as a creator), but this video is really, really cool.

  5. vispi – it’s not blocked in the US. It contains some music from Rage Against the Machine (heh) that must be restricted in your locale.

  6. @Trav – people do in fact play left-handed setups. Unlike scissors, drums can be re-arranged to be the most comfortable for the player.

  7. Interesting.

    The wires are rather distracting. I have to think if a WiMote would do a better job? Since it has BT, accelerometer built in and also in the form of a stick, a thick one unfortunately.

  8. Hi Guys, i would try to upload it to another video streaming site as well…
    10x 4 the comments, by the way i wearing the Hi Hat sandal on the right since i learned to play drums on a left handed drum kit…

    1. Was thinking this the whole video. How do we know it even works? Still a novel idea though. It would be neat to someday see whole bands that don’t have any instruments, including the drummer. :-)

  9. @Maayan Migdal
    Point taken. I set my computer up at home with a left handed mouse. Got used to using it right handed everywhere else. Now when I try to move the mouse back to right handed at home, all the right handed people in the house complain.

    I’ll put this in my “will try to get to eventually list of projects”

  10. @HackJack

    I was thinking the exact same thing! (Wiimote/PS Move) I feel like air Midi drums have been done before with a WiiMote…

  11. I cracked up when I saw him plug in his sandals. Good work, all around. There’s a similar sort of thing you can do with wiimotes, too. I was going to try it, but I couldn’t get them jiving with the bluetooth on my netbook. No foot pedals for those, though.

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