Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Massood Atashbar

Second Advisor

Bradly Bazuin


With the idea of creating a product using flexible hybrid electronics, the group decided to create a musical keyboard like a synthesizer. This is implemented using a printing technique called screen printing. This allowed the group to make several copies of the same sensors with a consistent thickness, roughness, and size. These keys, made of silver, are used as capacitive proximity sensors. When another conductive material comes within range of the key to change the polled capacitance by 2.7 pF, the note corresponding with that key is outputted.

In the interest of making this project a useful tool for someone playing the piano, a user interface was implemented that allows for volume control, octave control, and instrument change. Using a microcontroller, multiple sets of keys, as well as the user interface can all be incorporated together to make a compact, portable musical keyboard.

This design proved to be effective. The enclosure has a final volume of 2300 cm3. Several changes were made to allow for a more portable case design including a holder for the keys and connectors. The case for the musical keyboard also includes an internal speaker and the user can either use the internal speaker or plug in an audio cable to listen through headphones or a more powerful speaker. The option to switch between battery power or a micro USB cable is available to help keep the design portable. The user can change instrument, volume, and octave at will as well as being able to play up to 24 notes simultaneously. This allows the user to compose meaningful music with the full range of a conventional piano.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access