Designing DIY projects such as musical instruments can be a fiddly process, sometimes involving a lot of wiring knowledge from the get-go. Having a device such as the Blackboard allows instant access to buttons for controlling your code, and makes testing it much simpler. With the Blackboard, you can dive straight into creating code for musical instruments, controlling lighting setups, or even designing games!
The Blackboard is a touch-controlled device, featuring a grid of 24 touch-sensitive squares used to control and operate all sorts of ideas. These are ‘capacitive sensors’, which detect human touch by reading the difference in electric charge between plain air and a finger.
A series of nine fully customizable LEDs communicate information from the Raspberry Pi Pico. There are ten total connections for other equipment or sensors – five of these are General Purpose Input Outputs (GPIOs), and the other five are external pads. These connections create an almost unlimited number of ways to use this device – perhaps you could expand it into a stage-ready instrument, add MIDI output, or use environmental sensors!
The Raspberry Pi Pico communicates with your computer over USB using the serial, and can be programmed using C/C++, Micropython, CircuitPython, or even the Arduino IDE! You will find a lot of documentation about this popular microcontroller online, where makers have shared a wide variety of unique projects.
If you’re looking to create something new, want a solid piece of capacitive touch hardware, or are interested in learning more about the Raspberry Pi – this is a great place to start. Blackbeat is an independent company based in Culiacán Rosales, Mexico, and is the product’s designer and seller.