Music meal is an e-textile project that creates an experience of making music by dining tools such as plates, cups, and utensils. It's a final project for DXART490 - E-textiles & Wearables for Art & Design.
Group members: Caspian Coberly, Jason Gao
Arduino Pro Micro with an ATmega32U4 (USB HID support)
Conductive thread / tape
Velostat / Foam fabric
Plate / Utensils
10 / 10M Ohms resistor
Computer with DAW / Speaker
String cheese
Github repo:
Usage of open source code:
After visiting the place for the final exhibition - 'The 8', which used to be a cafeteria, Caspian and I decided to make an instrument that matches the environment. The basic idea was using utensils as keyboards and using plates as drums because of their shapes. Here are some initial sketches.



Then we built some prototype to make sure everything was functioning. The string cheese was my favorite part. Not only did it bring variety (it worked as a fader while others worked as notes) to the project, it also added fun.

Testing string cheese

Confirming positions before sewing

Since we want it to act as a MIDI device, we picked the Arduino Micro instead of the Lilypad. It can send MIDI directly through USB and also has more IO ports.
Under those plates, there are pressure sensors made with Velostat, which change its resistance when pressed. The utensil-keyboard is made with capacitive sensor. The string cheese act the same as a potentiometer, and I map its value to a midi controller.

Plate-drum | Pressure sensor

Utensil-keyboard | Capacitive sensor

The original bootloader for any Arduino board with ATmega32U4 chip (e.g. Leonardo, Micro, Pro Micro) is not compatible with the latest macOS (10.15 Catalina). I solved it by flashing an updated bootloader. Here is an open issue about this problem.
Initiating capacitive sensors in a for loop can cause an unexpected error. The solution is to declare them as global variables one by one.

Adjust the sensitivity for plate-drum

Solder the contact point


Testing MIDI control

Final Result


Group photo

Performance by Caspian Coberly

Martha Rosler - Semiotics of the Kitchen 1975
KASIA JUSTKA - Singing Kitchen

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