The Paper FingerPhone, a sustainably designed electronic Musical Instrument

The first paper FingerPhone was created to demonstrate conductive paper at the East Bay Maker Faire. It was built using the speaker in a large musical greeting card that Hallmark used to make with a bending mode transducer.

The next version used a pizza box as the resonator to demonstrate reuse as the sustainability aspect was emphasized..

Eventually it was placed on cardboard to be attached to poster board where it won "Best Poster" award at the NIME conference.

The conference paper associated with that poster presentation was chosen for inclusion in the NIME reader.

See video

FastTouch Open Source Arduino Library for Fast, Portable, Low Fidelity Capacitive Sensing

The fast touch algorithm reimplemented in the library available here was developed for my FingerPhone Instrument. The fast touch library senses touch on any digital I/O pin on many embedded controllers with the Arduino IDE. This includes Atmega 8-bit, SAMD21, and Teensy. This includes most pins on most micro-controllers. A few micro controllers have analog input pins that can't also do digital I/O . The library relies on the ability to enable a built-in pull-up resistor on the pin being sensed. Here is the algorithm:
  • set the pin to output a LOW value for 1uS or so.
  • set the pin to output a high via a built-in pullup resistor.
  • Read the pin regularly and evenly while it reads a low value.
  • The sensed value is reported as a function of the time it takes for the pull-up to bring the pin to a high value. This depends on whether the pin is touched.

    The example code provided with the library uses the Arduino Tone library to sound pitches according to which pins are touched.

    Notice that each call to the fast touch library implements a cycle of a relaxation oscillator.

    I am indebted to Alice Giordani for exemplifying use of the library so well in this dreamcatcher:

  • Ideas on Building Interactivity in Textiles and Related Fibers

    After a quick review of recent rapid developments in intrinsic fiber and textile sensing and actuation, I demonstrate pressure, stretch, position, acceleration, and multitouch sensors built with paper and textile structures. Their performance will be shown informally by integrating them into functional musical instruments. I close with a vision of how a design theory and practice may be developed for these materials, illustrated with new, folded, and pleated piezoresistive structures that have just begun to be explored.Ideas on Building Interactivity in Textiles and Related Fibers, Freed, Adrian , International Symposium on New Frontiers in Fiber Materials Science, 08/2011, Charlston, South Carolina, (2011)

    First Paper Fingerphone Prototype

    On Top of Musical Greeting Card (for better sound projection)

    Conductive Paper Pressure Sensor and Arduino Teensy

    Overhand knot in a strip of carbon-loaded paper becomes an FSR that can be easily connected to your favorite microcontroller (in this case a teensy running with the Arduino C++ tool chain).

    This is part of my Fingerphone instrument.

    Arduino Music and Sound Weekend Workshop in Berkeley

    Dates: July 24 + July 25, 2010 from 10am to 5pm FULL


    During this hands-on workshop we will survey Arduino platforms, libraries, shields and programming techniques for a broad range of musical and sound applications. We will learn how to synthesize useful wave shapes including square, sine, triangle and pulses, how to manage polyphony and timing and how to playback and record sampled sounds.

    lilypad touch sound example

    // XYZ textile pad
    // (procedural abstraction)
    void analogPullup(int pin, boolean activate)
      pinMode(14+pin, INPUT); // magic to active pullups 14 is the numbering of the analog pins
      digitalWrite(14+pin, activate ?   

    Class Syllabi

    This logs class syllabi and activities

    Interactive Soft Circuits and eTextiles Workshop with Arduino Lilypad in Berkeley, California

    Dates: Saturday June 26 and Sunday June 27, 2010 from 10am to 5pm


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