Physical Computing Final Project Plan


My final project for Physical Computing will be a drum glove for coming up with beats on the go. The glove will use flexible force-sensitive resistors made from velostat and conductive fabric in the glove’s fingertips to detect when the user taps on a surface. Taps will be translated to MIDI notes, which will be sent out over Bluetooth to either a smartphone or a computer that will play the MIDI notes as various kinds of drum samples. The glove will be powered by a rechargarble lithium ion polymer battery.

There may also be an interface for configuring the notes that each finger corresponds to, if user testing suggests that it’s necessary and I can come up with a satisfactory design.


11/5 - 11/12:

  • Playtest simple prototype
  • Design note-changing interface
  • Order materials
  • Begin fabrication of first prototype (without bluetooth or battery)
  • Practice sewing

11/13 - 11/20:

  • Finish fabrication of first prototype (no bluetooth or battery)
  • Decide on audio software (Smartphone app vs. DAW running on a laptop)
  • Test with users
  • Redesign sensor layout and interface if necessary
  • Choose different glove material based on feedback from user testing

11/21 - 11/26:

  • Fabricate version with bluetooth and battery, incorporating feedback from first prototype
  • Test with users
  • Decide on drum samples that will be used when demoing the project

11/27 - 12/4:

  • Fabricate final version, incorporating feedback from second prototype
  • Document design, fabrication, and testing process

12/5 - 12/13:

  • Prepare for final presenatation

Testing Plan

For my initial round of user testing, I’m thinking of doing the following:

  1. Ask testers to demonstrate how they would play the drums (any beat of their choosing) using their hands. This will hopefully give me some idea of which gestures and motions I’ll need to account for when placing sensors on the glove.

  2. Give testers a pair of headphones, play a few different genres of drum beats (rock, jazz, house, etc.), and ask them to tap along to each beat with their hands. This will hopefully show me how people would play different kinds of drums (bass, snare, hi-hat) using their hands.

  3. Repeat the last question, but with the added constraint that testers can only use individual fingers to play beats.

  4. Explicitly ask how testers would play different kinds of drums (bass, snare, hi-hat) using their hands.

Bill of Materials

Bill of Materials (Google Spreadsheet)

System Diagram

System Diagram