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Finishing a custom keyboard at home (Part 3)

Almost done with the custom keyboard!

Refer to (part 1) and (part 2) if you have not read them already.

I finally built up the courage to attempt the actual assembly. This part was very difficult and it took me a long time to figure out something that made sense and seemed achievable. There are so many buttons...how am I supposed to organize the buttons, the wires, the shift registers, and the resistors?

I started by soldering the buttons into place in their correct locations on each circuit-board along with resistors and wires for power and ground. Each circuit-board connected the power and ground wires to each other so I only had to add two wires from one board to the next to power the buttons.

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Recently tuned piano

Recently I got my piano tuned and I re-recorded myself playing a few songs.

Here is Pachelbel's Canon in D. I played this at my brother's wedding in a few weeks ago. I didn't play it as well as I do here but I did my best. It's hard playing for an audience!

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Making a custom keyboard at home (Part 2)

I continue to work on the custom computer keyboard (part 1). After creating the laser cut parts, I needed to understand the electronic components. Unfortunately I hadn't done anything with an Arduino in a long time, so I was confused about what needed to be done.

To help me learn, I bought an educational Arduino kit and started working on the experiments. That was definitely worth my while. I got comfortable using an Arduino again. I also learned what shift registers are. There will be 10 of them in this keyboard, as they are essential to allow the Arduino to sense the button presses of 71 buttons.

Here's one of the kit's experiments, using two Serial to Parallel shift registers to control a dot matrix LED display.

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Improved Pachelbel's Canon in D

Here's an improved rendition of Pachelbel's Canon in D. This time I used the pedal and didn't speed up as I approached the crescendo. I made one or two mistakes but they are relatively minor.

And I also recorded this on the first try, without sheet music! The previous recording took 20 attempts.

There's also a new connect the dots puzzle available, depicting a Pterodactyl.

Attempt at Pachelbel's Canon in D

For the past few months I have been trying to learn Pachelbel's Canon in D. Since April, at least. This is the most difficult song I have ever attempted. Here's where I am so far:

I made at least 4 mistakes, but every attempt after this was much worse. The crescendo is challenging! Of course I can play it better when I am not trying to record myself.

Tonight I also re-recorded myself playing Erik Satie's Gnossienne # 4. This time, without sheet music.

Making a custom keyboard at ITP Camp (Part 1)

I spent the month of June at ITP Camp. It's my third summer in a row there, and as always, I had a blast. This year I attended a session on building a custom computer keyboard. It was taught by Claire Kearney-Volpe and Ben Light.

In the class we met with several members of United Cerebral Palsy and discussed their experiences using computer keyboards. Traditional keyboards often do not meet the needs of disabled people. We talked about ways we could re-design a keyboard to make computers more accessible and meet their usability needs.

I worked with a woman named Shaniqua. She didn't like the traditional key arrangement of a QWERTY keyboard and often found it difficult to find the next key she needed to type. There were some keys she didn't use at all and she thought the keys were too close together.

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Gnossienne #4

It's been a while since I posted something here.

In January and February I was a data science fellow at The Data Incubator and worked very, very hard on projects and assignments to learn more about Python and data science tools. But now that that's over, I have time for other things.

I fixed my laptop and can now record videos of myself playing piano again. Here's Erik Satie's Gnossienne #4:

I made a few minor mistakes here and there but overall I am very happy about it. The broken cords make this a difficult piece to play.

Also, I updated this website theme! Much better than the previous one.

More to come....

Camera3D Documentation

This past week I spent much of my time writing the documentation for my latest project, Camera-3D. This is an open source library for Processing. It will enable artists and creative technologists to transform their sketches into 3D anaglyphs and experiment with other 3D effects.

Once I finish the examples this will be ready to go live. I am so excited!