CasioKeyBot, the Robotized Hand Plays an Old Casio Electronic Keyboard

By on October 14, 2018
Pin It

I really like the crappy sound of those 80s toy keyboards. Unfortunately, I am a lousy live keyboarder and I only have so many hands. So I thought about adding MIDI capability to my good old Casio SA-21. The simplest way to do this is obviously building a robotized hand with 8 servo motors controlled by an Arduino microcontroller, which in turn receives its commands through the serial-over-USB interface sent by a tiny C application that connects to the ALSA sequencer world of my Linux live music setup.

Fascinated by Electronic Keyboards, the maker Igor Angst has decided to substitute a robot in to push the synthesizer’s keys, using a laser-cut finger setup controlled by an Arduino Uno.

All you need to build CasioKeyBot is:

  • Arduino Uno
  • 5V/1A power supply with barrel connector
  • Casio SA-21 keyboard or similar
  • Micro servo motors (Such as SG90 9g)
  • Power switch
  • Power indicator LED
  • 220 Ohms resistor
  • 3mm plywood sheets 300x450mm (or anything that fits your laser cutter)
  • USB cable
  • small breadboard or prototyping board
  • some wires

The MIDI sequence/notes to be played are supplied by a computer running Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA), and interpreted by a C program that translates it into USB serial signals that the Uno can use. It then actuates its wooden fingers, producing a pleasing tune along with apparently keyboard-provided accompaniment in the video below.

About Luca Ruggeri

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *