This is the third musical instrument controller I have prepared for Maker Faire. This one combines lessons learned from the previous two: the tablo e-textile controller and the large koto/guitar hybrid from last year.
This simple controller is inspired by the south African kalimba. The kalimba lends itself to rapid assembly because of its use of a single central bar held down by two screws to trap the array of tines between two pivot points.
Wooden tines are used in this prototype because they are faster to shape than the traditional metal and this controller doesn’t require the tines to be tuned. The flexibility of copper tape is exploited as strips follow the contour of the flat base around the curve of a half-round pressure pivot.
This controller with no direct antecedents is made by draping conductive stretchable fabric over a cereal bowl creating a curve related to the famous one called the witch [sic] of Agnesi.
Resistive strips around the bowl are shorted out by the fabric and the varying resistances are
measured and sent via USB to control software on a host computer.