Final Project Post

MIDI Mobile – Final Project Post (5/7/18)

Chris Hanko,  Yewon Lee, Isaiah Scott



  • Photos of final form of project


Figure 1: Internal hardware layer of MIDI Mobile


Figure 2: Outer layer covering the hardware layer of MIDI Mobile


Figure 3: Final form of MIDI mobile being used to create digital music with Ableton



  • Final project poster


  • Describe your project and how it works.


MIDI Mobile is a wearable musical instrument armband designed for use in live music performance, DJing, and studio recording. Our project gives mobility, comfort, and versatility to musicians in a slick, easy-to-use armband with MIDI capabilities. MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a widely used form of communication that connects electronic musical instruments,  computers, related music, and audio devices. MIDI Mobile uses capacitive touch (like the touchscreens on your smartphones) to send MIDI signals to our Teensy Microcontroller. These buttons are programmable and can switch inputs with our triangular input switch button. This can switch between instruments, octaves and is up to the discretion of the user. It also uses a flexible potentiometer that can be programmed to be used as a pitch adjustment, output filter, and even a volume control. MIDI Mobile works with Ableton and other music software to create digital music uniquely and intuitively.



  • What were your overall feelings about the final product?


Due to the complexity of this project, we were unsure of how well we could design our product and how well it could perform given the time constraints of just a couple of weeks. We took on an ambitious project, and each of us has to do a lot of research to learn about MIDI and how it works on both the hardware and software levels. We were very pleased with the outcome of our project and we are excited to keep iterating and evolving MIDI Mobile. It functioned without delay or hardware problems, and believe we designed the best possible project.



  • Describe how well did your project meet your original project description and goals?


Our original project description was to design a MIDI armband that can be operated remotely from a laptop to be used as a digital instrument. We met all of our design expectations with the small exception of the inclusion of the Bluetooth board. We spent many hours attempting to interface our Bluetooth transceiver and laptop receiver but were unable to. We decided to go with a USB connection, but this did not hinder us from creating a functioning design that did not cease to amaze those who got to try it.



  • Describe the largest hurdles you encountered.  How did you overcome these challenges?


One of the largest hurdles we encountered was the Bluetooth interface with the laptop while using Ableton. We were unable to get it to work for this iteration, but we overcame this problem by using a USB attachment to the computer. Given more time, we believe we can solve this problem by purchasing and installing a different Bluetooth transceiver. Another hurdle we encountered was interfacing the Arduino code, the microcontroller, and Ableton. We had to do a lot of software troubleshooting and debugging but were able to overcome this. There weren’t any outstanding problems that affected the final outcome and performance of our product.



  • Describe what would you do next if you had more time.


If we had more time, our next step would be to continue to try to make the Bluetooth connection work. We would do this by ordering an adaptable board to our laptop requirements and are confident we could have it working in a short time. Since the shipping takes a while and we had time constraints for the presentation, we were not able to implement it for this iteration. Given more time we would also consider using a microcontroller with more pins so we can add the second flexible programmable potentiometer. We would also consider adding a play/pause button to be used when creating music on the spot and playing it back. Another consideration that would come with future iterations would be to add a lighting interface that can function with lighting systems to add another element to the live performance. We believe that our first iteration has proved that MIDI Mobile has a lot of potential, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!