Making Music With Tennis Balls and Lego

We’ve seen a lot of interesting MIDI controllers, but this one uses some unconventional materials. The World’s Coolest Keystroke, built by [Audiobody], is made from a combination of tennis balls, Lego bricks, servos, and switches.

When a tennis ball is lifted up, a Lego arm is actuated. It looks like a servo is used to move the Lego arm so it hits a switch. An Arduino is used to detect this and send a message to their computer.

They use the device to controlĀ Ableton Live and play different clips depending on which tennis ball was removed. It’s an interesting way to control sound with a tactile interface, and it looks pretty nifty.

After the break is a short video of the device in action, but [Audiobody] says that they will be releasing more information soon. We’re looking forward to seeing other interesting controllers that they have in the works.

[Via Make]


  1. Mojo says:

    Video summary
    6 seconds: Forgotten what I made.
    31 seconds: Remembered why I made it.

    • Sam says:

      Here’s why they made it.

      • Yates says:

        I have to say I didn’t think much of this until I saw that video (as noted by my snarky post below), but that’s actually pretty neat.

        Although it should be noted the device in that video is not the same as this hack, I guess this must be version 2?

      • Roger Wilco says:

        That’s awesome, very good performance. I bet it took a lot of practice

      • metai says:

        Yeah, the show purpose of the thing was pretty much clear. In the end it’s just a very contrived way to hit keys on a keyboard*, which is not particularly hackpraiseworthy in my view. But then again, different strokes, and it was a slow news day.

        *) I’m pretty sure that, unlike what is stated in the article above, the Arduino controls the servos to the levers which hit a bog-standard USB keyboard mapped to Ableton Live.

  2. Yates says:

    Soooo… It’s kind of like Rube Goldberg, but with electronics instead?

  3. metai says:

    Levers hitting keys on a keyboard. Nifty indeed!

  4. Jeff says:

    Nifty way of not having to pay through the nose for MIDI hardware to have a rugged, performance ready interface.

  5. echodelta says:

    Seven note keyboard can’t be played on very fast or timely. Takes two hands to play two notes. Clips ain’t making music! Great DJ’s use vinyl or at least CD’s, the lesser are FJ’s (fake or file). Now music artists are just CJ’s, and usually others music at that.

  6. Daniel says:

    Would be sooo cool if he could juggle the tennis balls while playing this….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,771 other followers