Business letters. A very low technology means to share contact details and even promote what you do. When Tim Jacobs of Mitxela, the same guy who previously impressed us by pressing a simple MIDI synthesizer on a USB connector, needed a card that reflected what he had achieved, the simple ones and the low-tech ones were not on the checklist. And so the idea of the StyloCard was born.
“Printed circuit boards as a business card are a great trick. I have seen some with USB ports recorded on them, which are listed as a keyboard and then write a person’s name or upload their website. It is almost possible to build them cheap enough to deliver them as a business card, at least if you are demanding with whom you give them.”
“A couple of years ago I tried to make one for myself, but I did not want it to be useless. I wanted him to do something useful! Or at least entertain someone for more than a few seconds. I do not remember very well how the idea of making a MIDI phonophone came up, but the idea was perfect. A midi controller that works, that is sufficiently unique in its reproduction feature to offer some value, while at the same time not costing more than the card would have done, since the keyboard is only a silver area on the PCB , as is the original stylophone.” says Tim Alex Jacobs
Jacobs came up with the idea of including a Stylophone tone generator on a business card some years ago. His prototype recorded at home had 20 tinned keys, an ATtiny85 chip, some resistors and a USB port. Using a crocodile clip as a stylus, it worked as a MIDI Stylophone.
While he was thinking about how to incorporate a better stylus into the design, he moved on to other things and the project was put on hold until last month when Jacobs ordered the production of boards the size of a business card at an approximate price of US $ 3 each. one, including shipping costs. .
The StyloCard is exactly 1 mm thick, which would make a very weak USB connection when plugged in. Therefore, an additional USB section was added at the top of the card design. This is removed and welded over the plug in the corner at the same time that Jacobs adds the other components.
The business card with Stylophone keyboard does not have its own sound generation circuits, it simply acts as a MIDI controller for the music production software that runs on the computer to which it is connected. It is 85 mm long and 55 mm wide, with a keyboard measuring 78 mm from one side to the other.
And a crocodile clip is still used as a stylus. But it certainly does its job of representing what its creator is about. “When it comes to business cards, the goal is to show off,” joked Jacobs.