This project is a DIY Electronic Music Keyboard that can be used with any computer software or music synthesizer that can handle USB MIDI.
It is modelled after the Kalimba which is a very popular and low cost acoustic musical instrument that is sometimes called a thumb piano. The layout of the “keys” is such that it is quite easy to play after a bit of practice and it has the potential to be a unique kind of performance instrument. Because it generates MIDI the sounds it can produce are only limited by your software or synthesizer and your imagination.
The goal of my presentation is to show how to go from initial idea to working prototype using this project as an example.
Dream it, make it!
What are the problems you aim to help solve with this project?:
The goal of this project was to create an electronic music keyboard that is portable and easy to play and therefore suitable for use in a performance environment. Since I am not a musician I also wanted it to be fun to use!
What are some of the major challenges you have encountered and how did you address them?:
The biggest challenge was the mechanical and electronic design of the keyboard and its layout. I originally started with mechanical push buttons but was not happy with the performance. Then I started to experiment with capacitive touch keys and ultimately ended up with something that I was really pleased with.