It used to be that you had to spend real money to get an alternative controller for your electronic musical arsenal. These days, with cheap microcontrollers and easily-accessible free software libraries, you can do something awesome for pocket change. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a sexy, functional piece of art along the way! [Jan Godde] did just that with his cleverly named Wooden Sensor Box With Two Rotary Disks. (If you’ve got a better name for this thing, toss it in the comments.)
From what we can see, the box has two potentiometer sliders, two touch-sensitive potentiometers, two force sensitive resistors, a slew of knobs, and a whole bunch of (capacitive?) touch points. In short, a ton of continuous controllers of all sizes and shapes in an aesthetic case. But stealing the show, and giving the device its name, are two platters from old hard drives that serve as jog wheels.
As shown in the video below the break, the two jog wheels are covered with alternating stripes on the underside. Each platter has a dedicated pair of IR LEDs and photodetectors underneath serving as a quadrature encoder that allows [Jan] to tell which direction the platters are rotating, and how far.
We love the loopy Musique Concrète demonstration of the two jog wheels in action combined with the various sliders. It’s quite expressive and moody. But don’t neglect the utility of a bunch of (ten? twelve?) sensitive touch points. [Jan] demonstrates the touch points in this video. It’s amazing what you can do with a bunch of nails and some code!
And speaking of code, [Jan], we’d love to see what’s going on under the hood of this beauty. When you get the chance, toss us some schematics and code?