About this project
What does it do?
The MIDIWidget makes it easy to control real-world stuff using MIDI messages from your computer or MIDI controller.
You don't have to write any code. The MIDIWidget already understands MIDI note, CC, program change, and sync messages. Use the drop-down menus in the MIDIWidget Configurator app (Mac, Win) to specify an independent behavior for each of the MIDIWidget's 24 digital logic outputs.
What are the applications?
The MIDIWidget is the brain for all kinds of DIY projects:
- Robotic musical instruments (Here is a circuit diagram for controlling solenoids or power relays using the MIDIWIdget.)
- Guitar amp and effect loop switching
- Light control or general-purpose relay control
- Studio recording lights or other DAW status indicators
- Triggering a modular synthesizer or other instrument that can be triggered with a digital logic signal
Functional block diagram:
Power and MIDI wiring details:
Wire traditional 5-pin MIDI connectors to the MIDIWidget, or connect it directly to a computer via USB. The MIDIWidget is plug-and-play with no special drivers.
The MIDIWidget can be powered by USB, or it can use a separate DC power supply or battery. It works with or without a computer.
Each MIDIWidget output terminal can behave in one of several ways. Here are a few:
- Note on/off: the output generates a "gate" signal corresponding to the duration of the incoming MIDI note.
- Note, fixed-duration: when a MIDI note is received, the output generates a pulse of a duration in milliseconds determined by the user.
- CC on/off: a CC "on" message switches the output high. A CC "off" message switches the output low.
- CC toggle: the output alternates between high and low each time a matching CC message is received.
- Start/stop: the output generates a start/stop signal based on MIDI sync.
- Clock: the output generates fixed-duration pulses in response to MIDI sync. Several clock divisions are provided.
The MIDIWidget can also store a collection of output states as a preset. Presets can be edited, stored, and recalled via the MIDI messages of your choice.
Curious about other output options? Please post your question in the comments section.
Upon successful funding, I will publish the PCB design (Eagle CAD), the embedded application firmware (C code written for the LUFA build system) and the Max patch used to create the MIDIWidget configurator app under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
The MIDIWidget has basic 0.1" pitch solder terminals. If you want to make non-permanent connections to the MIDIWidget, get the special edition, which includes pre-installed screw-clamp terminal blocks.
About the designer:
I've been designing electronics for music and MIDI DIY applications for about 10 years. One example is the MIDI CPU, which has been used around the world to create all kinds of DIY MIDI controllers, like DJ controllers, organ console retrofits, and foot switch controllers. You can see some of my other work here.
MIDIWidget firmware was created with the help of LUFA, an excellent software framework for building USB-ready electronic devices.
Risks and challenges
I have ~10 years of experience designing and procuring circuit board assemblies. I have also co-created two successful Kickstarter electronics projects (NTH Music Synthesizer and Luminth generative music system).
The MIDIWidget hardware design has already been proven in a small beta test. I am confident in the quality of the design.
There is always the chance of a production delay due to a component shortage. If this should happen, I will clearly communicate the issue and work to deliver your reward as fast as possible. Any other unforeseen issues will be handled in the same way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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