The Synth Glove: Playing With the Gakken SX-150




// Good for beginner electronics-er.
// It'll give you some basic know-how for building interfaces.
// If we're being honest, most of this is already in other Ibles, but I liked the idea of bringing together
// these projects.
// The Gakken SX-150 Synth Kit is very rough. By that I mean that it isn't extremely well put together.
// The main thing is the stupid knobs won't stay on!
//But that doesn't matter because we'll be ditching the case immediately.

The rest of this project is really just Plusea's stickytape sensors
// If you aren't on a low budget as I was, you should try the fancier sensors that she designed.
// So, uh, have fun...blahblah... knock yourself out!

Step 1: The Mighty Tools (and Parts)

The first thing to get is your parts.
// Pictures below.

Get the following from LessEMF:
Velostat by 3M
Conductive Thread
Copper Flectron Fabric
// This is for your various stickytape sensors.
// Sorry about this, but you will have a ****load of leftover stuff from this.

Next you'll need the base of our operation:
Gakken SX-150
// Isn't it pretty?

Now, we should get some tools:
// Look, these are just the tools I used. Scroll down and check out the following steps because I'm
// sure you have the majority if not all of these in or out of multi-tool form.
My Swiss Army Knife
My Trusty Leatherman Kick
Tools for soldering
// Again, you really just need screwdrivers, knife, scissors, and soldering tools. Correct me if I
forgot anything.

All that's left are some misc. parts:
One pushbutton
// Got mine from Radioshack: SPST Momentary Mini Pushbutton Switch, but others will work too.
One battery pack for 4x AA batteries with respective batteries.
// You can get this in the same trip as the above pushbutton at Radioshack.
Pack of at least four alligator clip wires.
// I can't remember the real word for these. They just make life easier. A lot easier. I got them in
// different colors. Also a Radioshack thing.
Case for button
// Mine was an old remote control for some toy or RC car. Anything you can open up and make
// room for the pushbutton is fine.
Duct Tape
// If you don't have this just around the house, I cry for you. I guess it could be regular stickytape...
// if you're boring.
One Glove
// Fine get a pair of gloves. You only need one, though. I got some nice workman's gloves.

// Give a holla if you find some cheaper or better alternatives.

Step 2: Assemble the SX-150

// Just kidding! Comes preassembled.
// Do whatever you want with the instructions, except use them. That would be ridiculous.

Step 3: The Big Button

// I can't give exact instructions on how to gut any random piece of junk around the house, but think
// screwdriver and screws.
// It shouldn't be too hard to open up if it's possible.
// See the difference between pic 1 and 2?
I drilled a hole in the back of my remote, squeezed in a button, and wired it to two separate alligator
clip wires.

Step 4: Plusea's Stickytape Sensors

Go to Plusea's Stickytape Sensors page
Build one long one to be a bend sensor. Use either her instructions or the ones I put in the images
// Should be a bit more than the length of your glove's middle finger.
Build a large wide one to be a pressure sensor
// I used two strips of duct tape to make this one bigger. It should take up palm of the glove.

Step 5: Super Fiddly Fantastic Glove Time

Take the glove
Tape the bend sensor carefully to the middle finger of the glove.
// Try not to put pressure on the sensors.
Tape the pressure sensor to the palm of the glove.
// Again be careful of pressure.
// Make sure the copper strips poking out form the sensors are easy access.

Step 6: Important Battery Hack

// So here you find yourself with the makings of an awesome machine
Cut the battery pack jack off of the case that came with the synth. Now solder that jack head on to the
battery pack you bought.
// Hooray!
Load it up with the batteries and plug her in.
// You are officially powered. All that's left is wiring.

Step 7: Alligator Clips!

Take your alligator clip wires and connect them like this:
Either glove sensor lead to either button lead
Other glove sensor lead to the white lead coming from the SX-150 and the metal ring on the corner of
the circuit board like in the picture
Other button lead to the blue lead coming from the SX-150
// If any of this is unclear contact me or look at below pictures.

Step 8: Conclusion!

// So that's all.
Once your all wired, flip the switch and play around.
//Attack and decay are in regard to the initial power of the note played and the decrease of power.
//Pitch envelope is just the range you can reach, although this won't change much.
//The toggle switch with the funny shapes are about waveforms.
//Resonance will try and make it fuller sounding.
//Cutoff is a filter, I think.
//LFO frequency just changes the frequency of the low frequency oscillator, meaning it'll add a little
//shake to your sound... you'll see.
//Thank you



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    10 Discussions


    experiment my man. i would think it would be fine if you can figure out how to. it's all about variable resistance. the sensors have a changing level of resistance and that change chooses the pitch. if you can get modeling clay to produce variable resistance your in the clear. or at least i think so. good luck, TAK


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This thing keeps crashing when I try to download it. It asks me to customize it, then refuses to download when I don't omit something even though I don't want to omit anything. Please fix it!

    2 replies

    I was trying to download a copy of the instructions to my flash drive. It seems to have been fixed now. I think it was a problem with the modifications to the saving routine.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    hahaha. damn, i was hoping nobody would notice it sounds terrible..... maybe the video wasnt a great idea...

    honestly the point is learning about interfaces not making something pretty... cause it is goddamned hideous sounding thanks anyways and keep the j's juicy


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm... I wonder if you could make a glove-based theremin with one glove for volume and one for pitch?

    1 reply