Category: Experiment 3

Whimsy Wand

Whimsy Wand

Group members: Preeti Mahajan, Merel Ververs-Spiegel, Milena Satrohan


Project Description 

For this project, we decided to initially create a “Broke Student’s Drawing Tablet” consisting of a Processing Sketch that uses music within the public domain to change the stroke weight of a line depending on the frequency within the audio file while using a capacitive sensing interface that would use the Arduino BLE 33’s pressure sensor to register a stylus to allow users to draw. During our trouble-shooting we discovered that the scope of trying to build a capacitive sensor was a bit out of reach and instead shifted the interface to build around the IMU solely. As a result, the “Whimsy Wand” was created. This wand consists of just the BLE 33 and utilizes the built in Gyroscope to track the user’s movements as a drive input in order to draw on screen within processing. Although initially the design was based on a Wacom Tablet the current aesthetic was inspired by the crudely animated “Wand Drawings” as seen during Disney Channel transitions between commercials and shows. Due to the departure from our original idea, some setbacks in terms of shifting the code to work with the alternative sensors proved to cause many problems either in our understanding of how to translate the code or communication between Arduino and Processing or between the physical input and digital output. This assignment allowed us to explore more of the BLE 33’s capabilities while allowing us to explore a more fun and whimsical approach for future use and gamification. 

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Link to video:

Link to Arduino and Processing Code on Github



Disney. “Disney Want Intro FAILS (BEFORE AND AFTER Editing)”, YouTube, Uploaded by Trevor Webb, 2017.

Disney. “The Best Disney Channel Wand IDs! | Compilation | Disney Channel”, YouTube, Uploaded by Disney Channel, 2019.

Dan Shiffman. “1.1: Drawing with Pixels – Processing Tutorial”, YouTube, Uploaded by The Coding Train, 2015.

Unknown. “Using the accelerometer and gyroscope on your Nano 33 BLE”, YouTube, Uploaded by Scott Fitzgerald, 2020.

Unknown. “Arduino BLE Example Explained used Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense| Arduino Bluetooth Tutorial”, YouTube, Uploaded by Arduino Porjects & Robotics Tutorials – RootSaid, 2019.

Unknown. “Processing art STROKEWEIGHT | Grid Art Studies 03 (Creative coding art)”, YouTube, Uploaded by thedotisblack creative coding, 2019.

Lukrembo. Biscuit, Audio, 2019. 

Lukrembo. “(No copyright music) loft type beat “biscuit” | free vlog music | prod. By lukrembo”, YouTube, Uploaded by LuKremBo, 2019.

Draw a Note


Experience Video | How it works Video | GitHub code 

By Ellie Huang & Aaditya Vaze

This experiment is aimed at building an accessible physical interface for creating music. Using pencils and sharpener you can just start drawing and generate sounds from a choice of musical instruments.

Musical instruments need different types of muscle coordination techniques and strengths to play them. e.g. Drums need high amount of energy to produce sound and Cello needs control and focus to play it. It’s difficult to learn the intricacies of each musical instrument. With “Draw a Note” users can use two pencils in their hands and draw/tap on circles to play a note/sound of an instrument. Switching instruments is as easy as placing sharpener on a different point on the paper. To make it accessible to visually impaired population/people, we have an etched pin to sense the region that reacts to touch or pencil to produce a sound.

The aim of “Draw a note” is to experiment with simple day-to-day objects like paper, pencil and sharpener to play beats or generate notes of different musical instruments. We have fabricated a minimal design that is subtle, lightweight and portable.

Development Images



Final Images


Fritzing Diagram



Freesound Sound Files for Musical Instruments | Nov 11 2021 | (Creative Commons License)

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