Final Project Report – Team Piano

Project Summary

The goal was to build a miniature piano, the piano is going to be triggered by light sensors on the top. With the trigger of each sensor a different note is played; there are a total of ten notes (making a complete octave, plus 2). When each note is played, An LED corresponding to that note turns on. This set-up will be contained within a box to hide the wiring and increase the visual appeal of the piano. The project was based on previous work with the Arduino and speaker, as well as light sensor.

Team Members

Blake Jackson – Box design, Box assembly, Circuit Set-up

Mohammed Alyami –  Arduino Programming, Circuit Set-up

Dmitry Foster – Partial Box assembly, Post Master, Photoshop  Master

Project Design & Development

The essential features were the box containing the bread board with lights and light sensors, as well as another box with the arduino.

The box was designed by Blake without outside influence, and the code was written by Mohammed.

The testing phase was done before the creation of the box, it was found that the light sensors were too sensitive, it was modified with rubber tubing to help limit light registered by the sensor. No previous projects were used for the beginning of the project.

It was later decided to use a program that will allow the piano’s sound to be changed via a midi controller, the code for that was written by Mohammed with the help of Tom and Mr. Gridley. The team ended up abandoning the idea of LED’s corresponding to notes because there was limited room on the bread board.

Four of the sensors were built differently from the others; there were only 6 analog pins on the Arduino, therefore there needed to be 4 more digital pins as an input for the last 4 sensors, this requires the Midi circuit. In total there are 13 digital pins and 6 analog pins on the arduino.


  • 4 Lm358 chips 
  • 10 light sensors
  • 10 Resistors (10,000 Ω each)
  • 1 Arduino
  • 1 Midi Shield
  • 1 midi input to USB (Cable)
  • 2 Bread Boards
  • Plethora of wires


Project Challenges & Insights

Some of the biggest challenges of the project were the programming; writing the code for the arduino to play a sound when light is prevented from reaching the photo sensor as well as when the box was first made it  was too small for the arduino and bread board, it was later fixed. Another problem encountered was the sensitivity of the sensor, it was too sensitive, and eventually the team decided to add tubes to the sensors to filter light. Those were the largest challenges for the project. The construction of the box and finishing touches were relatively simple. The team believes that it did all that was possible and best in the construction of the project and wouldn’t change anything in the future. Another change was abandoning the LED’s for the notes.

Project Video

 YouTube Preview Image

 Also the code: Final_Project

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