MCP Style MIDI Controller Using Homemade Force Sensitive Resistors

Michele Perla put together a DIY USB MIDI Controller.  The MPC (Music Production Controller).

This video shows the controller in action at the Rome MakerFaire.

Mick needed a simple and effective instrument to create drum beats without having to manually write them note by note.  He wanted something more than most of the DIY MIDI controllers out there that use simple on/off buttons.  The answer was to build his own using force sensitive resistors (FSRs).


The controller has 16 buttons using FSRs arranged in a 4×4 matrix.  The FSRs can sense the amount of pressure applied to a button and use that information for things such as a velocity of a note, control change value, etc.

There is a pretty good write up on his HackADay.IO project page that includes schematics of the project.

Home Heating Monitor

Dave built a home heating monitor to collect data on the duty cycle of all the heating zones in his house in hopes better understanding the activity  off all the zones in order to reduce oil usage and save a few bucks.







The first version of the project didn’t pan out so well.  The controller used didn’t work out so well.  In version 2 of the project Dave used Teensys to take data measurements and send the data another controller.

Dave found that storing the data on a webserver is easier than storing it in an embedded device, and displaying the data in HTML on a web page is more flexible that doing it in a Windows app.



Morse Code Keyer

Doug Hoyte has made his own devise to assist with morse code transmission.

This is the keyer pared with a straight key

A dual-paddle (iambic) key is the preferred key for the project.

The guts of the box.

This keyer has a robust set of functions and can be built for less than $40.

The benefit of using an electronic keyer like this is that the keyer’s internal timing circuits determine the duration of the dots and dashes, and the spacing between them.

Be sure to check out Doug’s website and check out his detailed write up on the project.  He also made his code available on GitHub.


Open Source Lightsaber

Fredrik Hübinette has made his own Teensy based lightsaber.

This awesome looking lightsaber features a Graflex 2.0 for the hilt, which is a prop made to look like the original Gaflex flash gun used for Luke’s  lightsaber in the original Star Wars.  WS2811 LEDs are used to light up one of the blades.  He’s also used SK6812 LED strips for another blade.

This video shows the light saber in action, including the different blades made for it.  The sound effects in his lightsaber are most impressive.

Frederick has documented his build on his web site and made his code available as well.  You can read his build log over on the fx-sabers forum.

We previously showed this similar but unrelated light saber project by the Firebrand Forge.

Tuba Guy’s LED Tuba Lights

Jay Converse, The Tuba Guy, has outfitted his sousaphone with a sound activated LED system.  When he blows into his mouthpiece different patterned images come up.

Just one of his many very cool LED designs

He was at the Women’s March in Washington with his Sousaphone

This project makes great use of the Note Frequency tool in the Audio Library (see panel on right side).  The code was originally developed by Colin Duffy.


Saturday geek project. I got a new Teensy 3.5 because the audio board shorted out on my TubaLights version 0.9. The 5 red switches represent the entire stock of these single pole switches in D.C. I know because I scoured both Microcenters in town. TIL the nearest Radio Shack is in Warrenton!!!

You can view more of Jay’s tuba projects on his Instagram page captainsousaflame as well as his Facebook page TubaGuyFairfax.






Skylight Art Installation at Albuquerque Balloon Museum

Kevin Bott and the Art + Technology +  Sustainablity Research Group at the University of New Mexico created a beautiful art installation, Skylight, at the Albuquerque Anderson-Abruzzo Balloon Museum in their famous balloon-shaped window.

Those LED runs are 24 feet long! Holy cow!


This video gives some information about the project and shows the LEDs in action.

The team has made their code available on GitHub.

Free Pendulum Clock

Forum user Cyclist recently built a free pendulum clock.

The cool thing about a free pendulum is that it has no mechanical linkage, escapement mechanism, or direct mechanical power to keep it going.

A small magnet on the bottom of the pendulum induces a voltage on a coil mounted beneath as it swings past. The voltage is detected by Teensy’s a/d converter and triggers a propulsion pulse applied to the coil from a digital output pin. This gives the pendulum a tiny nudge to keep it going. The pendulum defies the senses, swinging in eerie silence.

Cyclist reported that the accuracy is all about the pendulum.  He had it going for about a week and it was running slow by a consistent 1 second per day. He’s working on trying to refine the pendulum  and pivot design for easier, finer adjustment.