SparkFun Hacker-in-Non-Residence: Cooperative Instruments

I want to thank SparkFun for selecting me as a Hacker-in-residence, even though I couldn’t get out to Boulder I am very excited to be working with the SparkFun team. I will use this post to keep track of the status of my project. You can read more about it on SparkFun.

Current status:

Made sounds.


This project will be an Arduino controlled midi instrument, with IR sensors as input and a Midi shield to talk to a midi module. The IR sensors and Arduino will be mounted on something like a hula-hoop, and people can stand around it and put their hands in the IR beam to generate sounds. Hopefully 4-8 people working together will be able to create some interesting music.

The code for this project is on github.


Today (July 3 2014) I finally got my package from SparkFun, at first I was surprised by the size and weight of the box, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I opened it all I saw was the recyclable packing material, after I pealed away a layer of packing material I finally got to the electronics.

SparkFun package with electronics

SparkFun package with electronics.

I dug around a bit more and I found out why the box was so big, they decided to include some presents:

Electronics and beer mugs

Electronics and beer mugs.


They added some awesome SparkFun Engineering Department beer mugs, the mugs appear to be half liter, and I can’t wait to use them.

Beer mug filled with an arduino, shield, and sensors.

Beer mug filled with an arduino, shield, and sensors.


Making a sound

After some struggle with the midi module (Yamaha AN200 in case you care) I finally got the thing to make a sound, I was having troubles at first because I didn’t realize that when the arduino rebooted the AN200 also needed a reboot; otherwise it would not take input from the arduino.

Thomas "fixing" his light saber

Thomas “fixing” his light saber, notice the SparkFun Bier mug.

Now that I have that all sorted out I have figured out a few ways to modulate the sound based on input from the IR sensor, and I have made a small video of it in action with just one sensor hooked up.


Stay tuned for more updates.

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