Categories: Hardware Prototypes/Non-Commercial products

Submitted by:Xavier Dumont

24 May 2023

Elevator Pitch


3D Printed Breath-Controlled MIDI Device

Product Description


The MIDILodica is a 3D printed, Arduino-based, breath controlled MIDI device that features a fully configurable 35-button matrix, a pressure sensor and a capacitive strip potentiometer that can translate breath airflow and finger position into MIDI signal, an additional button underneath the device used for triggering sustain and octave shifts, as well as a 320x172 screen and controls for full menu navigation. The MIDILodica's strong suit is customization. Using the menus and navigation buttons, users can configure a plethora of options like scale, starting pitch, starting octave, MIDI channel, MIDI CC for both breath sensor and strip potentiometer, breath sensor sensitivity, and many other features. It can be used just as any other device, but really shines in pieces where dynamics are at the forefront, such as orchestral-like works. Using only surface mounted components on a custom PCB, the MIDILodica is easy to assemble. As a way to ensure the longevity of the project, I have decided to open-source all schematics, PCB designs and software. This means that modifications can be easily made to suit the user's preferences. Also, since the housing is 3D printed, it can be modified to fit a user's hand size, dominant hand or general ergonomic preferences.

How It's Innovative

The strong point of the MIDILodica is its customizability, both in terms of what a user can do with a built unit and stemming from its open-source nature. While there are many other electronic wind instruments already on the market or created by the community, the main distinctive feature of the MIDILodica is its fully configurable button matrix. The buttons are arranged in a 5x7 grid that resembles the strings and frets of a guitar. Since the layout does not resemble that of a traditional piano keyboard, it means that the buttons can be freely assigned to any pitch. To this end, the MIDILodica provides multiple configuration options like scales and modes, starting octave and starting note. The matrix design also allows users to play chords, since multiple buttons can be actioned at the same time. The idea of assigning buttons freely can also benefit users who would like to explore microtonal applications. The small screen and navigation buttons also mean that the user has complete control over the device's configuration, and can save presets for future use.

See MIDI Innovation In Action

Most Inspiring Use Cases

The pressure sensor allows for intuitive and elegant control of MIDI CC. Using clever synth design, it is possible to assign those CC to modulations in volume, low-pass cutoff, noise levels and distortion levels to create expressive and realistic-sounding patches, which, much like acoustic instruments, change their sound characteristics with dynamic. Combined with the powerful button matrix, these patches can be leveraged to create intense organic swells, or sustained and singing melodies. To me, the MIDILodica really shines in orchestral-like pieces, where dynamics and theatrics and at the center-stage.

Expansion Plans

While the MIDILodica is already feature-rich, it also lacks in many aspects, especially in terms of connectivity. To this end, the next step would be to replace the Arduino Micro with a Teensy 4.0, and add an ESP32 for WiFi and Bluetooth connection, as well as a MIDI connector and/or USB-B cable. This would also require the addition of a battery pack.


While the device has not been around for long, the response has been extremely favorable, and there are indeed plans to productize the device, either under the form of DIY kits or pre-assembled PCBs. However, for the time being, no such products are available, as I feel it would be best to wait for a more feature-complete version before offering such kits.