CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Making a Pizza Box MIDI Controller with Conductive Paint The ever-clever John Edgar Park is at it again with a fun and fantastically well documented project for the Adafruit Circuit Playground microcontroller. At first, John tries creating a crude MIDI input device using the Playground and pennies connected to alligator-clipped wires to create capacitive touch buttons.


Katie Pyne said...

So this is really cool, but I'm having trouble finding any practical usage for this. Putting this much work onto something as flimsy as a pizza box seems counterintuitive. You're not creating your art on something that can last. Yeah, it's cheap to make, but this is complicated machine you're making. What happens when it doesn't work? Do you have to start again? Just because you can print circuits on our own printers doesn't mean we should. It doesn't seem pretty accurate as far as cueing goes. Considering that theatrical sound designers have to integrate many different signals, I don't think it would be much use. This actually might work if you were trying to put some kind of prop onstage, and using the pizza box as a prop, but that's a very niche market. What is he actually trying to accomplish with this though? It's a fun party trick, that's for sure.

William Lowe said...

I have an issue with the fact that the project was focused around a bad DJ controller for a poor software, but beyond that I think this is a really cool idea for other applications and leaves a lot of room for creativity and exploration for audio control in abstract forms. The advancement of technology, especially into tablets and other touchscreen devices, has allowed manipulation — in this case of audio — to be completed in a more abstract method. The amazing development in this idea found is the idea of any user being able to customize their experience controlling audio by being able to use conductive paint to design your control surface. I am excited because I’m sure that this is just the beginning of what this idea will bring to the world of audio. In addition, I’m interested to see how technology either makes it easier to use conductive paint to create circuits — such as the article mentioned the idea of a conductive paint printer cartridge — or how technology progressed beyond conductive paint as this might just be a gateway to the real next revolution in electronic control surfaces.

Chris Calder said...

I’ve always been intrigued by homemade devices like this. You can find turntables on the Internet for upwards of 500 dollars. But next time I see someone willing to shell out that kind of money for a DJ equipment ill just tell them to order a pizza. It seems like a win win situation to me. I get the pizza and they get an affordable turntable. The nice thing about this is that you could essentially have 4 pizza boxes and add more playgrounds until you have every soft key you could ever want. I almost feel like if I saw a DJ using a pizza box to mix songs I would be way more interested in what he is doing. I guess my only question is, how long can conductive paint go without loosing signal. But if you can travel significant distances with this stuff I could see several other uses besides pizza box art.