Synthux Hackathon 2023

Digital Finger Pan

An ethereal miniature hand pan for the soul
Pressure sensor
A reclaimed artefact
Performance instrument

Coaches & collaborators

Colorado University, ATLAS institute
Our project takes inspiration from the hand pan, which is an acoustic instrument that requires tapping different parts of the instrument to play different sounds. We first decreased the instrument size to fit in your hand, then we made it digital using custom-made pressure sensors which trigger individual sounds. The sensors are made to work by changing the velocity at which each note is pressed. Lastly, we added a vibrato feature which is activated by shaking the hand pan up and down to get that funky pitch change you would get with a whammy bar on a guitar.
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the tech

How does it work?

Our project used housing that resembles a hand pan which was made using Fusion360 to CAD the electronics housing and then 3D print it. Then, we used an accelerometer for the vibrato and custom-made force-sensitive resistors for the sensors to control which note is being played. We used the pressure sensitivity from the sensors to change the velocity of the note depending on how hard you press the sensor. We used Arduino to take in this raw data and send it to MaxMSP through serial communication. Lastly, we output the music in MaxMSP using samples from Ableton that we created.
Open source code
Click here to grab this project's code
Visual programming language for music and multimedia
Music production program
A gyroscope/accelerometer is a device used for measuring or maintaining orientation and angular velocity
Pressure sensor
A pressure sensor can sense when it is pressed. it can be used to create custom buttons and more
About the instrument
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