I'm a big nerd and music lover, and among the instruments I play are mallet percussion instruments, think Xylophones, Glockenspiels and Marimbas. Since I have started playing i have always wondered if it was at all possible to create an electronic version, especially in the current lockdown situation where i do not have access to my instruments.
If its possible to create 61 and 76 key electric synthesizers that instantly play multiple sounds, and often come with many knobs and switches to control the sound, is it feasible to create something similar but instead of keys you press, its keys you hit with a mallet (yes, you can buy commercial editions of these but they run in excess of $3,000 for a small one).
In terms of feasibility i'm mainly looking for two things: latency between hit and output low enough i do not notice it like an electronic keyboard, as well as ideally getting at least 4 full octaves, or 48 keys.
In my research, the best idea i have is using piezoelectric sensors to register the "knock" of the mallet, as well as get the force to control volume, then hooking them up to a keyboard matrix circuit, then to an Arduino to covert the presses to MIDI output running out of the USB port.
What are your thoughts on this idea? Is there anything you recommend? is it at all feasible or possible? Thanks!