SonicWear: Capacitive Touch Keyboard Workshop

In the Summer of 2021, I led a workshop as part of CETI’s Enchanted Tech Festival, whose theme for the year was E-Textiles (wearable technology). Oriented towards beginners, my Capacitive Touch Keyboard workshop introduced some basic micro-controller programming along with how to built a playable capacitive-touch circuit, for integration into participants’ costumes/clothing.

As a demo project, I chose to build a piano-key necktie that you could actually play!

Fabrication required sewing supplies, a vinyl cutter (used to cut copper adhesive sheets), and a soldering iron (to solder speaker, amplifier chip, and connecting wires).

The Necktie was controlled by a Circuit Playground Express and programmed using Adafruit’s MakeCode block programming interface (See Example Keyboard Code)

Workshop Details

Workshop Goal: 

Build a musical interface for your Circuit Playground. Start with Simple Capacitive touch interface & then elaborate.



Required Materials:

  • Computer connected to internet (
  • Circuit Playground Express
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Conductive Tape
  • Base material: Fabric, plastic, or paper

Optional Materials:

  • Conductive materials Miscellaneous (aluminum foil, wire)
  • Conductive or regular thread + needle
  • Conductive ink pen 

Downloadable Resources

Attached are the vector files and parts list used for the creation of both the Keyboard circuit, as well as the soft-speaker.

This lesson was paired with a DIY speaker workshop (slides not shown) whose parts and design files are also included.

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