DIY Gesture & Tracking USB MIDI Controller

With DIY gear so readily available, building your own controllers can be fun, rewarding and really creative. Here, Liam Lacey shows you how to make your own 3D gesture-sensing USB MIDI controller.

Thanks to the recent development of the Microchip MGC3130 gesture and tracking chip, a number of new affordable sensor boards are being introduced that allow you to create 3D hand gesture and tracking devices with ease and for less than $40. One range of these sensor boards is the Pi Supply Flick range – a set of surface-mountable boards that can detect seven different specific hand gestures as well as 3D XYZ tracking within a range of 15cm, which also have touch sensing for 15 different types of touches. While most of the Flick boards are designed to attach to Raspberry Pi boards, there is a standalone Flick board which can connect to any other I2C enabled microcontroller or microprocessor such as Arduino, Teensy, or BeagleBone.

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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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