Jazz Hand is a wearable glove apparatus that gives users dynamic control over assignable MIDI parameters. Project Webpage: https://seanjohnsonmakes.github.io/JazzHand.html
The Jazz Hand was derived from the possibility of mounting flex sensors on limbs or fingers--allowing for simultaneous physical control over as many parameters as there are human joints. However, we chose to stick to just one hand. Additionally, the monotonous, intangible workflow of electronic music led us to apply this technology to electronic music creation and performance.
The Jazz Hand is a glove that allows for assignable MIDI control via the position of one's fingers and the movement of their hand.
First, we assembled the basic circuitry consisting of a Teensy 3.1 and 5 flex sensors. Then, we mounted this to the glove and began to outline our code within the Arduino IDE. The code progressed much in the same way that the hardware did - we got the flex sensor input working in code, then implemented them as on/off buttons for notes. It was at this time that we figured out how to debounce the note input. We settled for a counter that increments by +1 each each cycle the flex sensors go past a certain threshold. Once the counter gets to five, the note activates. Next, we proceeded to install and test the accelerometer and indicator LEDs. We filtered the accelerometer input with exponentially weighted moving averages. Finally, once a working prototype of the device was apparent, we proceeded to solder all of the circuitry together and house it in a 3D-printed enclosure mounted near the wrist.
We faced many small challenges and set-backs throughout our project including unexplainable malfunctions in code, difficulties in coordinating inputs on our micro-controller with our code, and physical limitations of the glove and the flex sensors. In one instance, a for() loop iterating through an array broke the entirety of the Power Note library we wrote. We are still not sure what caused that. Additionally, much time was spent tuning the debouncing and filtering to get it just right.
We are proud of our ability to take our hardware knowledge and software experience to synthesize a practical device that is multi-faceted in its use of technology from mechanics to the computer sciences.
We learned a lot about MIDI and how it functions in terms of specific numeric values. Additionally we learned how to harness accelerometers and convert their data into musical modulations.
Our project has the potential to run many different alterations of our code, allowing for different ways of interfacing with the glove altogether. For instance, we could switch the flex sensors to measure continuous changes and convert that to MIDI data, allowing for continuous parameter control with finger-movement. Additionally, the Jazz Hand does not limit itself to music. The device could be used in a virtual reality setup, giving users control over their individual fingers.
The Jazz Hand started with a lonesome glove, which we then decked out with 5 flex sensors, 5 10k resistors, a Teensy 3.1, 5 green LEDs, and an Adafruit LSM9DS1 accelerometer board. The Teensy 3.1 was programmed using the Arduino IDE and Sublime Text editor on a MacBook Pro. The enclosure was designed in Onshape CAD and printed on a Makerbot Replicator.
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