Project information

  • Category: Circuit design, board design, firmware development
  • Location: Olin College of Engineering
  • Project date: December 2022
  • Project URL:

3D-Gesture MIDI Controller: 3ddie

Starting in December 2022, Grant Miner, Jacob Smilg, and I embarked on a project to create an unconventional Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) controller that operates through hand gestures. Unlike conventional MIDI controllers with piano keys or velocity pads, we wanted to capture the essence of instruments like the theremin by allowing users to control virtual and hardware instruments' parameters using gestures in all three dimensions.

To achieve our vision, we selected the MGC3130 gesture controller chip from Microchip, which utilizes electrodes to generate an electric field for gesture detection and an RP2040 microcontroller for all of our midi processing and interfacing. We adhered to Microchip's and Raspberry Pi's design guidelines, opting for large coplanar electrodes with an enhanced 5V supply, extending the vertical sensing range.

Although we have finished designing and fabricating our hardware, we still have a lot of work to do on the firmware side of 3ddie. As of August 2023, we returned from our project break and are trying to push out a final product by January 2024.