MIDI controllers are input devices intended to work with electronic music production software. Your computer keyboard, for example, can technically be used as a MIDI controller. But most musicians prefer MIDI controllers that replicate the feel of real instruments, or provide efficient access to the tools they use most often in their music. Michael Sobolak, on the other hand, built the MIDI Sound Palette out of components that he already had sitting in his parts bin.
Most makers have some kind of parts bin where they store all of their leftover components from previous projects. Every parts bin is unique, and Sobolak’s happened to be full of various inputs and sensors. So, he decided to use as many of those as possible to build a MIDI controller, and documented his project on Instructables. The final product resembles a giant painter’s palette, and is completely functional with a variety of inputs that can be used with his music production software.
The MIDI Sound Palette is controlled by a Teensy 3.2 microcontroller development board, which shows up as a MIDI controller when it’s connected to a computer. The Teensy has a multitude of inputs attached, including: rotary potentiometers, sliding potentiometers, touch potentiometers, arcade buttons, piezo drum sensors, lasers, and even copper tape for capacitive touch sensing. Those were all wired to the Teensy and configured as MIDI instruments, and all of the components were placed inside of a laser-cut wood enclosure. The finished MIDI Sound Palette is definitely playable, and is guaranteed to be the only one of its kind.