TouchDUINO touchless MIDI device

The most simple and cheapest touchless MIDI instrument ever: TouchDUINO


today we experiment with touch sensing on Arduino UNO. We want to build a very cost efficient MIDI instrument without mouch effort on wiring complicated things on a breadboard.

You can find a reference to this article on

What you need for this:

– 1 Arduino UNO
– 20 Paperclips (bare metal)
– 1 Arduino Stackable Header Kit – R3 from sparkfun (
or as an alternative:
– 1 unit Break Away Headers – Straight from sparkfun (

If you use the alternative headers you have to solder the paperclips onto the heders which isn’t an easy task for people who just begin with soldering. But that was my solution and, as you can see in the video: It works very good.

How to do it:

Just put the stackable headers into the following pins of the Arduino UNO: 2- 13 digital inputs and A0-A5 analog inputs
Put one paperclip in each pin.

Upload this sketch to the arduino and (magically) …your done! Congrats.

IMPORTANT NOTE!!! Please be sure to have a good connection to the ground. If you touch one of the paperclips and you have a high electrical load in your body it can seriously damage your Arduino. An easy way to do this is to touch a water-tap while doing this.  The safest way is using an Anti Static Wrist Strap ESD Grounding kit . They are cheap (cheaper than a new Arduino.).  Search for it and you’ll find it.

On your computer you have to install a software that is able to read the MIDI commands send by the arduino over serial via your USB cable. It is called ttymidi. Open a shell and start it with
ttymidi -b 115200 -s /dev/ttyACM0 -v
Configure and start qjackctrl. For more details ->
Open a second shell and type
a2j -e
Start your preferred MIDI sound generator. In the video I used zynaddsubfx.
In qjackctrl connect ttymidi out to zynaddsubfx midi in. Connect also zynaddsubfx to system out.

Here is a litte demo video (quick and very dirty) showing this device in action together with sooperlooper, hydrogen and zynadsubfx, recorded from ardour 4.1

and here the long version (Making of …)

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