Convert a cheap toy piano to work as a midi device and use it with Synthesia (http://www.synthesiagame.com/)
Other programs that use midi inputs can also be used.
The pushbuttons of the piano are used to make a simple pull-down circuit for the arduino mega. The arduino interprets the keystrokes and sends serial midi data to the pc. Then this data is send to a virtual midi port with "serial-midi converter". This midi port is connected to Synthesia via "MIDI Yoke". MIDI Yoke is a driver that creates virtual ports. Each port has an input and an output which are connected. With MIDI Yoke you can couple different midi programs without any physical hardware.
Step 1: Parts and tools
- Toy piano
- Arduino mega (This project van also be done with an arduino uno but you should use an line decoder to expand your arduinos inputs.)
- Flat ribbon cable (from old pc)
- Connectors (1 for piano and 1 for arduino)
List of tools needed:
- Soldering iron
- Desoldering pump or wick
- Hot glue or any other strong glue
Step 2: Hardware
- Open the toy piano and locate the pushbuttons corresponding to the piano keys.
- Check if all the buttons have a common line. This is the ground line.
- Locate and remove the main IC. Solder wires to all leads going to the buttons including the ground wire.
- Check you didn't make any shorts while soldering. (ohmmeter)
- Solder the other ends to the connector for the flat ribbon cable.
- Make a cutout in the housing of the piano for the connector.
- Reassemble the piano.