Tag Archives: NYU’s Science of Music school

Drawing musical MIDI, Uno style

A team led by Alex Haff of NYU’s Science of Music school recently debuted a DIY paper circuit project dubbed Draw MIDI.

The digital-based platform uses capacitance sensing to collect electrical signals from a pencil-and-paper keyboard. The signals are converted to MIDI with an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328) that sends the code to a PC via a Max patch.

“While this project can technically be done on Windows, it takes a bit of finagling. We recommend Mac OSX. Because Draw MIDI is a digital project, you’ll also need some code. For this project, Alex used both an Arduino sketch and a Max patch. You can find each of them here and here,” Haff explained in a recent blog post.

“The Arduino code will run in the controller’s software on your computer. The Max patch will need to be run in Max. If you don’t own Max, never fear. You can copy and paste the code into Max’s free runtime application.”

As Haff points out, paper circuits have been making their way around the DIY tech world for some time now due to low-cost components which offer significant potential for cheap mass production.

“For DIY, they offer similar affordability, a great availability of materials, and they’re just plain fun. There’s a novelty in creating something interactive from ink and graphite. Usually, our words and drawings can’t fly off the page, but with the addition of electronics they can light up or be heard,” he said.

Interested in learning more? You can check out Jeff Haff’s blog post here and the project’s official Instructables page here.