Custom interface

Orca Box

For sequencing midi


The concept here is to create a physical controller with knobs and buttons for "playing" Orca.



Project Log
Aug 13th 2021

I've setup enough code to prove that a potentiometer knob can be mapped to the range of values that are most useful to Orca: 0-9 and A-Z. There was some challenge in tuning code to get a natural response. Without doing that it can feel jumpy.

I'm in the breadboard prototyping phase now, but I've (for now) settled on using about 6 knobs and 15 buttons. The buttons can be mapped to generate a series of keypresses that render useful patterns like trackers, scales, etc. The knobs can be mapped to specific variables which will be available in fixed locations on the bottom row. A button could be mapped to generate the variable code too.

I don't yet have a great vision for the housing design. I'd like it to be well considered and nicely crafted.

I have dropped the idea of >15 buttons as I realized that augmenting a real keyboard and mouse is much better than trying to replicate it. I've also dropped the idea of using the half globe, as the screen needs to be easily readable to be useful.

Project Log
Mar 31st 2021

I mapped out an initial idea for button layout. This seems really un-optimized with 62 buttons, but that's actually how many GPIO the Grand Central has, so I suppose it's possible. I'll do some more thinking... I believe this is not the final layout.

First OrcaBox Layout Idea
Project Log
Mar 24th 2021

I'm not entirely sure that Grand Central can act as a keyboard, but I believe with the Adafruit HID Library it can.

I'm also not sure how I'll do midi out. Ideally I can convert from USB from the Pi to a midi din port for the box, but I'm not sure yet how to accomplish that.