Our Project

Anyone Can Play!

Our goal in this project was to make an interactive device that produces music in a way that is intuitive for a user to play without any previous musical experience. We ended up making a glove that converts hand movements into sound. We made this project as part of the class Principles of Engineering at Olin College of Engineering.
picture of completed project

How it Works

An Arduino reads the values of the sensors embedded in the glove, and sends that data to a computer. The computer processes the data using a program called Max, which generates and outputs sounds based on the sensor readings.

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Our Team

Person 1



Just here for a good time, Alex mostly focused on the sound generation in the project along with some art and design. He researched and experimented with Arduino tones, parsed Instructables and how-to blogs, adventured in programming with Max/MSP, designed the logo and color scheme for the website, and feverishly read as many forum posts as humanly possible.

Person 2



As a weird musical instrument enthusiast, Becca really enjoyed working on this project. She worked on the design and fabrication of the glove, as well as exploring sound amplification and speakers.

Person 3



Despite majoring in E:Computing in order to avoid doing electrical stuff, Katie somehow found herself doing electrical stuff. She worked on general circuit design, Bluetooth communication, getting sensors to work, and making this website.

Person 4



A mechanical engineering major having a design-related crisis, Reid worked on design and fabrication of the glove. They have love/hate relationships with 3D printers, flexible filament, and Solidworks, but enjoyed being able to work on user-centric design in this project.

Person 4



As the team realized they picked a highly electrical project, Shirin also unexpectedly ended up doing electrical tasks including soldering and understanding sensor functions. Aside from assisting on this, she mostly worked on administrative tasks such as writing blog posts, documentation, and helping prepare for sprint reviews.


Without this there is a hole in the middle of the last 2 boxes so this is just a placeholder.


We broke up our progress on this project into 2-week sprints

Sprint 1

During the first sprint, we used push buttons, which are freely available to students, as a stand-in for the sensors we would later use. We also worked on getting a speaker to play notes. For our deliverable this sprint, we had a device with 3 finger caps that had buttons. When each button was pressed, the speaker would play a different note. We could use this device to play the song hot cross buns, but we wanted to make our sound generation less structured and more intuitive.

Sprint 2

For the second sprint, we went out and bought a force sensitive resistor, a flex sensor, and an accelerometer, and used those new sensors to generate sound. We also researched new ways of generating audio, and settled on Max, which is a visual programming language that can be used for music. We also amplified the speaker, and experimented with different mechanical designs. Our deliverable for this sprint was a 3D printed flexible hand shape on which we mounted all the sensors. We were still using the Arduino language to make the sounds, so they did not sound very pretty yet.

Sprint 3

This sprint, we worked on Max, Bluetooth communication, and making the device more comfortable and adjustable. We used a Bluetooth chip to send the sensor data to a computer, and got this method of communication working for all sensors except the accelerometer. We then got Max to take in the data from Bluetooth, put it in the correct format, and play a sound over the computer based on the sensor readings. This was an exciting step because it was the first time our sound actually sounded good. We also made progress mechanically in this sprint. We decided to use a soft cloth glove as our base, and attach the sensor to the glove using 3d printed pieces, including finger caps. This step allowed our glove to be much more comfortable.

Final Deliverable

During this week, we made focused on fabricating two entirely new gloves. These gloves were more high quality materials, and used several more of the flex sensors and force sensitive resistors. We ended up with one glove with a force sensor on each finger, and one glove with buttons on the fingers and an accelerometer on the wrist. Both gloves had a flex sensor on the pointer finger and the thumb. We also worked on improving the Max sound generation.

Demo Videos