Touch Board + MaxMSP

About: Bare Conductive makes creative electronic tools for any designer, engineer or aspiring maker.

MaxMSP user? Cool! The Touch Board works great with Max. The following tutorial shows you how to get your board set up and gives you a brief introduction to our basic Max patch.

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Step 1: Materials

To begin you will need:

1 x Touch Board

1 x USB A to Micro B cable

1 x Computer running Max/MSP 7.0 or later

1 x Internet connection (but you are reading this, so I guess you must have one!)

Step 2: ​Upload Datastream to Your Touch Board

Your Touch Board will need our DataStream code to communicate with the Max patch. The DataStream code is an example within our MPR121 Library. Find it by navigating to File/ Examples/ MPR121/ Examples/ DataStream. Make sure to select the correct Board and Port before hitting upload.

If you haven’t set up your Touch Board with Arduino then make sure to complete our “Setting up Arduino with your Touch Board” tutorial first (you can find it here).

Step 3: ​Check Datastream

Check that you’ve uploaded Datastream correctly by opening up the Serial Monitor (Tools/Serial Monitor) in Arduino. You should see a stream of values.

Uncheck autoscroll to pause the values and you’ll note that there are repeating lines of values which start with TOUCH, TTHS, RTHS, FDAT, and BVAL. Don’t worry about them for now, this is the raw data that Max is going to parse.

Step 4: ​Download the Patch

To download our Touch Board Communication patch, click the link below and unzip it to a convenient location. Our patch runs on Max 7.0 or later. If you don’t already have MaxMSP installed you can find a link below.

Max/MSP Software

Step 5: ​Start It Up

Make sure that the Touch Board Communication patch is closed. Plug in your Touch Board and open up the patch. Your Touch Board should then appear in the drop down menu. Select it and you should see the numbers immediately start changing and the slider objects should come to life. Touch the electrodes on the board and watch the values change.

Step 6: ​Presentation Mode

The patch is well documented, so make sure to read all the notes there. The patch opens in presentation mode and is only showing you a small piece of the data the Touch Board is producing. Exit presentation mode (View/Presentation) to see all the data types available.

Step 7: ​Experiment!

MaxMSP and the Touch Board work great together. Have fun connecting the physical to the digital, getting Max to talk to Ableton Live, but most importantly do something we haven’t thought of yet. Let us know how you get on and share what you get up to!

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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Hi, I got the touch board working with MaxMSP, using the provided patch, although I can't find a way to make it work as I need to.

    I used the TOUCH data type, since it looks like the one that can make a toggle control work. Although, If I set it to play a movie (, the movie start, but stops as soon as I remove the finger from the electrode. And if I touch it again, the movie was still playing in the background, and doesn't restart, as it should.
    Secondly, trying to play an audio file is impossible, is like is trying to restart it every millisecond once I touch the electrode, but it doesn't play forward. And the audio cuts as soon as I remove the finger from the electrode.
    Is there a way that I can just touch the electrode, and the video or audio flows from start to finish, not stopping if I remove the finger? And if I touch it again, it restarts?
    Thanks for the help

    Bare ConductiveGaetanM3

    Reply 2 years ago


    I'm sorry you haven't been able to get this to run. Would you mind emailing so we can help you troubleshoot there?


    GaetanM3Bare Conductive

    Reply 2 years ago


    Thnx for the reply,
    i finally got it to work.
    Had to go in presentation mode, go in "edit" mode, click the "port" button and then it started sensing my controls.

    I'll probably play with the generic MIDI code instead, already tons of possibilities there.

    Best regards