MSBM: Mad Samurai Beat Machine

Mad Samurai Beat Machine

Harit Lad, Tristan Santos, William Selviz


Prototype Description

An intuitive and interactive interface that allows musicians from all levels and backgrounds to improvise and build their own percussion beats.

Circuit Layout or Circuit Schematic

Prototype Sketch

Fig 1. Prototype Diagram

The image above denotes the circuitry for one functioning button utilizing a 5-pin capacitive sensor, two breadboards, one Arduino, and a laser-cut casing box (not visible). We envision the next version of this product will have more capacitive sensor pins to trigger multiple buttons at once.


Supporting Visuals


The supporting code for this project can be found HERE

Supporting Visuals


Fig 2. Plywood, laser-cut box made with Makercase


Fig 3. Mad Samurai Logo and button layout (Inspiration)


Process Journal

Fig 4. Brainstorming

September 19

  • We created our group and flushed out ideas for what we want to do.
  • Came to some conclusion of creating a sampling machine.
  • Tristan sourced out code for the interaction (OUTPUT) via Processing.
  • William and Harit made design concepts
  • We delegated responsibilities between group members


Fig 5. Arduino and Breadboards

September 21

  • Further went into detail of who was responsible for what, and specifics on what that group member had to get for next class (Priority list / responsibility list)
  • Completed and polished design for laser cutting
  • Presented pitch to class, received feedback from classmates and instructor, use some feedback as things to look at
  • Made decisions on material choices for prototype


Fig 6. Casing

September 26

  • Tristan is creating the code through processing
  • Harit is formatting and modifying the wooden frame and also working on documentation
  • William is doing some more material explorations and assembling in addition to physical design
  • Figured out interface of the prototype
  • Completed design for the full prototype, ie what the interaction is going to be, the code is basically complete (additions to the sound file) and assembling is going to be done tomorrow.  
  • Documentation for circuit, sketches, experimental materials, pictures (panels, circuit)
  • To do; polish code to single pin, circuit diagrams, write the blog post
    • Compile everything into organized files
    • Label and name everything  


Fig 7. Casing Pt. 2


September 27

  • Harit and Tristan got together and established the design for the wiring and layout of the circuit within the box itself
  • Tristan tested the new code for the prototype -> a successful breakthrough to that there could be an addition and new things added to the code such as visuals and other cool things.
  • Created a framework for the “buttons” to be properly visible by somebody
  • Made a split wiring for the Ground to the circuit itself separating the circuit
  • Tested and successfully passed the test and allow output to be used. For the test we used aluminum foil taped on the canvas and when the canvas is stretched all the way, tapping on the selection that has the aluminum foil on allows the user to activate the song trigger.
  • William designed, tested and cut out the canvas cover with electrical paint.
  • Finally, he compiled, designed and branded all the documentation for blog post and pitch.


Project Context & Bibliography

This project was inspired by our mutual curiosity for sound and creativity. We agreed that creating a beat generator was something tangible for the timeframe and would also bring a lot of possibilities down the road. There are dozens of sound libraries that can be imported and programmed. We developed this product keeping students and low-income individuals in min since Midi boards aren’t cheap. Our design process was very ‘straight-ahead’, meaning one idea built upon another until the final design came about. We see a lot of room for growth and decided to make a prototype that would showcase the possibilities in future versions.

The code was referenced from the audio player example built into Arduino (AudioPlayer). Our current prototype includes conductive paint in its logo, and we plan to use this as the interface for more buttons in the future. The idea was inspired by this video.


Fig 8. Conductive paint in action.
We always find ourselves tapping our legs, arms or desks when listening to a song, and this device allows us to experiment with concepts further. We consider this a “sketching tool for musicians” meaning it can help them envision what adding percussion to a melody would sound like, in a very fast and intuitive approach.

Other devices out there, such as the PO-12 Inspire a world of possibilities and inspires us to further develop something compact, customizable and limitless. We hope to take this to the next level with more time and resources *insert IndieGoGo campaigng link here*


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