Capacitive Paint Touch Controller

June 30, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized 

Using Bare Conductive paint and Arduino as a musical interface for my modular synthesizer.

I have been playing with Bare Conductive paint since it came out a little more than a year ago. It’s great stuff – a heavy acrylic paint that can be used as a resistor, touch sensor, paintable wire – and I keep coming up with new uses for it. This idea stemmed from wanting to utilize my modular synth in more of an installation setting than a performance music setting.

I think of this as a sort of “sonic self-portrait.” Two 10″x10″ canvases painted yellow with my hand prints painted in conductive paint. A small piece of copper tape is attached to the back of each canvas and connected to Arduino. Code on the Arduino turns the canvases into capacitive sensors and sends two channels of 0-5V PWM voltage out through RC filters into the modular synthesizer. In short: touch the painting, send modulations to the synthesizer.

The Arduino sketch uses Paul Badger‘s CapSense library. I had to use an older build of the Arduino programmer (alpha 22) in order to get the library working. You can find the most recent version of the code here: GitHub. Circuit and patch descriptions below the audio.

Project information here: jimmymhughes.com/capacitive-paint-controller/
Extended audio here: soundcloud.com/soundelectronics/capacitive-painting-controller

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