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SquareWear 2.0 Touch Sensing and Digital Piano #WearableWednesday

Ray writes:

Looking for new projects to do with SquareWear 2.0? Here is an idea: combine SquareWear 2.0 with touch sensing to make a digital piano! It works as a standalone project and no additional hardware is required. Take a look at the video first.

How does this work? First, SquareWear 2.0 has a built-in buzzer, so it can already make sound. Next, touch sensing is detected in software. It basically exploits the principle of capacitive sensing: every time you touch an Arduino pin, it slightly alters the capacitance of the pin. This change of capacitance can be detected using a variety of methods. The simplest is to set the pin to digital input mode, and turn on the internal pull-up resistor. This will start charging the capacitor. By detecting the time it takes to charge the capacitor, you can infer the capacitance, and in turn tell if a finger touch has occurred on the pin. That’s it! Because SquareWear maps out available pins to large pin pads, this makes it particularly well-suited for touch sensing.

So I wrote a quick demo as a proof-of-concept. First, I found a function that implements the capacitive sensing from the Arduino playground website. It basically returns a touching sensing value, which can then be compared to a threshold. You may need to adjust the threshold to increase or decrease the sensitivity. The demo scans through all 12 pins available on the SquareWear 2.0 and plays a tone for 125 milliseconds if a pin touch is detected. As a result, the buzzer makes a chiptune type of sound. The code also uses the on-board pushbutton to switch between three octaves: C3, C4, and C5. The LED will blink when a tone is played.


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