Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Easy Button Musical Interface

For the Mandala performance at SIGGRAPH 2006 we needed to create footswitches so that each musician could communicate with the Mandala program. For example, when sheet music needs to be scrolled a musician hits a footswitch button to tell the computer. Other possible uses are voting on song changes, input devices to control DSP effects, etc.

To make them cheaply and simply, we hacked eight Easy Buttons from Staples. The buttons were connected via guitar cables (or cheap custom equivalents) to a hacked apart USB keyboard. The keyboard's circuit board was put into a project box, mapped out, and then soldered to 1/4" jacks. Easy Buttons were plugged into the box which was plugged into a computer using USB. The application on the computer read-in button presses as if they were keys on a keyboard being pressed and processed the input as desired.

An instructables.com tutorial was created to show how these were made.

- Joe


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