Drop a sick beat with these Arduino-powered gloves

Instead of having a synth that was controlled by potentiometers, sliders, antennas or ribbons, one Maker has developed a pair of gloves that lets him make sounds by just moving his hands. 

If you think about projects Adafruit’s MIDI glove and DrumPants, it’s looking an awful lot like wearable tech and music may be the next big-time duet. Take Sebastian Thinggard Rostved, for example. The Maker has created a nifty hand-worn synthesizer as part of a recent interactive design course at Sonic College in Denmark.


The project, which he calls Acid Gloves, consists of two gloves fitted with a pair of bend sensors, an accelerometer and a force resisting sensor, each of which are hooked up to an Arduino that sends data to MaxMSP for the audio effects. Meanwhile, the Max-patch is controlled by a Max for Live plugin.

“The two bend sensors control the filter cutoff and the amount of filter envelope. The force sensitive resistor controls the amount of filter and amp envelope and the accelerometer controls the filter resonance, overdrive and bitcrush,” the Maker explains. “This part is really hard to control, both physically and programming wise. The physical part is to master your control of your hand. The programming was also really hard and i had to make a lot of filtering of the data, to make it work.”

The idea for Acid Gloves came about after Rostved decided that he wanted a synthesizer instrument that wasn’t driven by potentiometers, sliders, antennas or ribbons like a majority of mixers. And after all, what’s more intuitive than using his own hands? You can watch the wearable device in action below as he orchestrates a variety of beats in a seemingly natural way by simply moving his arms and fingers.


The music-savvy Maker says that he is thinking about turning the gloves into a MIDI controller in the near future, so that he can control his hardware synths. What’s more, he has also obtained a few more sensors to improve the overall design of the project and expand upon its capabilities.

“Although Sebastian looks pretty subdued here operating his tunes, you can see there is the potential to program larger gestures with the accelerometer and really turn this into an interactive show. There is also room for adding some capacitive sensing fabric buttons on the glove, as well as more flex sensors. This could trigger more effects or music samples. On the visual end, it may be fun to add a few LEDs to the fingertips to draw attention to the motions as well,” our friends (and the original spotters of this neat project) at Adafruit explain.

Intrigued? Head over to the Acid Gloves’ page here.

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