The piano scarf took me about three months to knit, which is a long time considering I can knit a sweater in a couple of weeks. There was a lot of sewing involved, as every button had to be sewn on by hand and after the button was sewn on, the conductive thread also had to be sewn in. Sewing is not my favorite activity so the piano took a lot longer than it should have.
The basic idea behind the piano is completing a circuit. The Makeymakey only needs something that is slightly conductive (like someone’s hand) to complete the circuit. So I made buttons for each key on the scarf so people would know where they could touch to make it work. Then I had to sew two strands of conductive thread onto each button, making sure the strands didn’t touch. When someone touches the button, both of the strands of conductive thread are touched and the circuit is complete. The conductive thread takes the completed signal back to the Makeymakey, which then sends it to a computer.
Another design tool I used was connecting all the ground conductive threads at the bottom of the piano so I only had to have a single wire leading to the Makeymakey for the ground. You can see it a little in the video, it’s the white wire. So instead of needing two wires for each key, I could have one wire so the computer could tell which key was pressed and the other wire to complete the circuit. This saved a lot of time.
There were some design flaws. This is the first working piano scarf I’ve made, so I did have some errors. For example, the two strands of conductive thread on the buttons often ended up touching each other. This meant that the note was always being played and would keep other notes from being played properly. I could usually fix this by tugging at the knitted fabric until they didn’t touch anymore. Another issue was the wires at the top. The wires were really just the conductive thread covered in electrical tape, so the ends closest to the piano became slightly uncovered. This meant that two notes (or more) notes could get stuck together, so when either one of them was played, the other note would also be played. But for the most part, it worked well.
You may notice in the video that people put something on their finger before playing. I made finger covers for people that had conductive thread in the tips. This was to help eliminate the problem some people were having with not touching the button in the right spot or having hands that were too dry to complete the circuit.
I had a ton of fun with this project. Next up, finish the glove in the video!