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The Piano Pen

It's a musical microcontroller on wheels. A row of light sensors on the bottom tell the thing when it's rolling over notes, and the speaker burps out the corresponding note.

It can read a simplified musical notation, and can also be used to read from things like black magnets temporarily applied to a baking sheet for quick composition. These compositions could be scanned or photocopied to share.

The speed at which the Pen is rolled over notes governs tempo.


  • What's the best way to sense light?
    • light sensitive resistors, transistors?
  • How big of a clef could it support?
  • How big would notes need to be?
  • What microcontroller best suited?
    • it needs to be able to generate tones and collect inputs from the light sensors


  • Dial-a-key
  • Transposition
  • Recording
  • Computer interface