Kyub: Open-Source, Feather-Touch, Maker-Friendly, MIDI Keyboard

What is the Kyub?

The Kyub is a maker friendly, open source MIDI keyboard that provides a new window to musical performance. Capacitive sensing gives the Kyub extremely sensitive action and an internal accelerometer allows the volume of each note to be precisely controlled for versatile musical expression. You can attach multiple Kyubs to a computer synthesizer or digital audio workstation for solo play, jamming with friends, or composition. A computer with a synthesizer program is required to make music, Almost any computer-based synthesizer can be used--we provide information on connecting the Kyub to the free demo version of Propellerhead Reason which provides access to hundreds of high quality sounds. Check the hardware requirements here:

Drums using the Qdrum sketch

The Kyub program can be easily modified to: change the notes assigned to each pad, change the MIDI channel and change the chords assigned to the chord pads in the chord mode, move notes to make them easy to play, change your instrument from guitar to klaxon, play almost any chord progression.

We give you super-documented source code using the popular Arduino programming environment (simple C personalized for the Teensy) that will let you set the scale, tweak the note velocity curves, even map different instruments to different pads (say, drums and fife) to get exactly the musical experience you're looking for.

Certified code jockey? Our hyper commented source code should give you the tools you need to completely change the Kyub DNA. Make a loop recorder, a drum machine, an arpeggiator, assign pads to play musical phrases, tap into the accelerometer for after touch, pitch bending, or scale changes, squeeze the final bit of latency out. We'd love to see where you can take this.

Clear Kyub with Programmable Color Organ Option

Birch Kyub in Rot-Wood

What are the features of the Kyub?

The Kyub Assumes the Avatar of Concert Grand

How does the Kyub work?

The internal circuitry monitors each of the keypads to immediately detect even the lightest finger touch reflected in a capacitive disturbance. Acceleration of the Kyub housing associated with a finger touch is converted to a note loudness which together with a pitch determined by the keypad is transmitted over a USB cable in standard MIDI format. The Kyub has low latency on the order of 3 ms providing a highly responsive musical experience.

A Lecture with Chalk

Colors: Rot-Wood, Sangria, and Green-Tea

Contents of the Whole Shebang Kit

Info about the Kits

The kits require soldering and some assembly skills. You can see what is involved at this link The kits are probably not a good choice if you have never worked in electronics or programming unless you have some local support. The entire assembly takes around 5 hours plus the time it takes you take to decorate the housing. All the parts are included in the full kits, a Teensy 2.0, a printed circuit board with a surface mount accelerometer, all of the electronic components, pads, laser cut housing, and bolts & screws.

What tools and materials are needed to build a Kyub? A soldering iron and solder, a wire stripper, screw drivers, needle nose pliers, wood glue.

What's the status of the design?

  • Order Parts from Current BOM: May 16, 2014
  • Release of Documentation for Level 1-5: May 25, 2014 (final release completed 6/1/14)

  • Receipt of All Parts: June 16, 2014 (30 days) (all parts, but some wooden housings, in 6/1/14
  • Begin Assembly of Full Products (Levels 4, 5): June 20, 2014 (started stuffing PCBs)
  • Begin Mailing out Kits: (Levels 2, 3): June 20, 2014
  • Complete Assembly of Full Products (Levels 4, 5): July 15, 2014
  • Complete Mailing out Kits (Levels 2, 3): July 30, 2014
  • Complete Mailing out of Full Product (Levels, 4, 5): July 30, 2014
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