Conductive Paint Turns Plain Old Paper Into Playable Instruments

Handing a trumpet to a child and expecting some Louis Armstrong skills is a tall order, but it’s possible to get them producing basic tunes with a simple sheet of loose leaf. MusicInk allows kids to paint—and play!—a plain old piece of paper like a musical gizmo.

Conductive Paint Turns Plain Old Paper Into Playable Instruments

The prototype kits made a recent appearance at Maker Faire Rome. Visitors could test things out by out filling in the instrument-shaped stencils with a few coats of special electronically conductive pigment, then connecting their creation to an Arduino Duemilanove board and Sparkfun MPR121 controller housed in a good looking wooden box, which is linked via bluetooth to a smartphone app.

Up to 12 electrodes can be attached to different works of art at a time, which then perform like capacitive sensors (reacting to taps and swipes in the same way your iPhone might), each producing a sound sampled from the Philharmonia Orchestra. Check out the vid below to see the a group of youngsters having fun with the process—it’s pretty impressive to see the little guy tapping out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Though MusicInk as a set isn’t available for purchase, you can snag a jar of electric paint from the clever folks at Bare Conductive now if you’re raring to go with your own sonic experiments (they've got some fun starter ideas here). [PSFK]