Flute Now Included On List Of Human Interface Devices

For decades now, we’ve been able to quickly and reliably interface musical instruments to computers. These tools have generally made making and recording music much easier, but they’ve also opened up a number of other out-of-the-box ideas we might not otherwise see or even think about. For example, [Joren] recently built a human interface device that lets him control a computer’s cursor using a flute instead of the traditional mouse.

Rather than using a MIDI interface, [Joren] is using an RP2040 chip to listen to the flute, process the audio, and interpret that audio before finally sending relevant commands to control the computer’s mouse pointer. The chip is capable of acting as a mouse on its own, but it did have a problem performing floating point calculations to the audio. This was solved by converting these calculations into much faster fixed point calculations instead. With a processing improvement of around five orders of magnitude, this change allows the small microcontroller to perform all of the audio processing.

[Joren] also built a Chrome browser extension that lets a flute player move a virtual cursor of sorts (not the computer’s actual cursor) from within the browser, allowing those without physical hardware to try out their flute-to-mouse skills. If you prefer your human interface device to be larger, louder, and more trombone-shaped we also have a trombone-based HID for those who play the game Trombone Champ.

16 thoughts on “Flute Now Included On List Of Human Interface Devices

  1. It would be less objectionable to listen to if it was ultrasonic. You could even 3d print a full keyboard, using a fan to pressurise it. now, a joke: The legend of zelda, ocarina of xy positioning system.

      1. Also, just because the author uses a recorder flute, that doesn’t preclude one from using any other kind of flute, and possibly even entirely different instruments (depending on how selective the audio filtering is).

  2. Transverse flute or fipple flute, this is like the turtle or tortoise argument. The ocarina is neither but a Helmholtz resonator. The pitch cannot cover much more than an octave up from all holes closed. With just 4 holes, up down left right, or 3 and all holes closed as the fourth. An ocarina can be mouse shaped and even smaller very pocketable.

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