Take Five: Improving Maintainability and Reliability of the T-Stick



John Sullivan


Albert-Ngabo Niyonsenga, Marcelo M. Wanderley

Publication or Conference Title:

Proceedings of the 2024 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME2024)


The T-Stick, an interface with a lifetime of nearly 17 years, has undergone multiple changes over time. Over the first decade and a half of its existence, the T-Stick was manufactured in various sizes (four) and copies (> 30 units). Despite the relatively large numbers in the context of in-house academic interfaces, over the past 6 years many T-Sticks were made fairly artisanally, with graduate students manufacturing their own devices. Despite this strategy’s clear pedagogical advantages, the reliability of these devices was not always a priority, leading to the need for repairs and downtime during use. In this paper, we present the design for the 5th generation of T-Sticks, the T-Stick 5GW, designed to improve the reliability and maintainability of the interface to reduce faults during extended periods of use dramatically. The main changes in this new generation are the use of a custom-made ESP32-S3 board, which integrates a fuel gauge and IMU. In addition, the touch sensor is printed on a flexible PCB and interfaces with the touch board using a 32-pin FFC connector, dramatically reducing the need for soldering parts. Requirements relating to the instrument’s reliability/availability and manufacturing are described in detail and were evaluated analytically, showing the effectiveness of the new design. Further reliability testing is ongoing through the use of the latest generation in musical performances.

Publication Details:

Conference Paper
Utrecht, NL

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