Make an iPad piano keyboard from clothespins and cardboard

Fiddlewax creator Adam Kumpf makes a $5 keyboard that plays his music app by letting him tickle the, um, clothespins. You can do the same.

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco
2 min read

It might be low-tech, but provides an elegant solution for a "touchy" problem. Adam Kumpf

There's a difference between people who went to MIT and me.

When I come across a tech inconvenience -- like the lack of actual keys on an iPad for typing -- I just grumble to my friends. When MIT folks encounter the same, well...they fix it!

In the case of Adam Kumpf -- a former MIT student with a background in electrical engineering, computer science, robotics and tangible interfaces -- it wasn't the lack of a typing keyboard on the iPad he found frustrating. It was the lack of a piano keyboard. So he got busy making one. And no, he didn't use some super secret metal from the labs at his alma mater to create it. He used tinfoil, clothespins, rubber bands and a little tape.

Kumpf's device was made to work with the Fiddlewax music apps he created for the iPad.

"Multi-touch screens are great, but when it comes to playing music on them, the lack of physical keys can be a drag," he said in a blog post earlier this month. "So instead of writing code today, I decided to round up some household stuff and make a piano keyboard that tricks the iPad into thinking it's being played by your fingers (with the help of some clothespins and aluminum foil)."

Kumpf said he made the keyboard for under $5. And you can do the same by following his detailed instructions on his Instructables page. If you need a little motivation, here's a final thought from Kumpf's blog: "If you spend most of your time behind a computer keyboard...maybe it's time for you to take a break and get your hands dirty."

(Via Cult of Mac)