I’ve been mildly obsessed with the idea of hands-free midi control since I saw the incomparable hottie Imogen Heap demonstrating her “body suit” and have finally made some small progress in that direction. I’ve bought a Sharp infra-red distance sensor, plugged it into the arduino, a few lines of code and hey presto, it’s reading values from the detector.

All I need to do now is either smooth the readings and convert to a midi controller message, or more probably to begin with, set a cut off value in the data and use this to trigger a device on/off via midi. My first thought was to operate my “freeze” function in Ableton -currently dedicated to a small footswitch plugged into the “old” socket of my keyboard controller. Why it will be more fun to just waft a hand instead of pressing a button, I’m not totally sure, but it may add a small degree of showmanship into my performances 😉

For those of you that don’t know the Arduino chip, it’s pretty simple to program, here’s the code that reads the sensor.

int sensorPin = 0;

void setup(){

void loop(){
int val = analogRead(sensorPin);