Given the wide variety of things a MIDI controller can control they can be enormously varied. Both my planned projects are completely different. They only thing they have in common is they are MIDI controllers for guitarists rather than keyboard players.
The first easy project is, exactly that, very easy. Its simply an extension of the 1 key keyboard idea I knocked together a few years ago (except this time it will speak MIDI protocol so it can interoperate properly with audio software). Most of the bits for the project are shown here:
The box at the top was a lucky buy on e-bay. Winning the lot was what set the project into motion. Having a pre-drilled full metal box with a nice angle on the top to make it easy to press should really make this project. Below are replacement footswitches (computer accessory pedals like this don't really want toggle switches since it reduces their flexibility, they want simple press down buttons). Finally there is a prototype "brain". This is a spare board I had knocking about and I used to do the software development.
The real much smaller, slower and dumber brain is shown here at the bottom. These things are an absolute bargain, ?5.90 on e-bay, it just a shame you have to hook up all those nasty wires to squirt the first program in (and get it wrong four times first). However with the first program squirted in I can download all the rest of the code using the USB socket which is much, much easier:
There's also a shot of the box with switches replaced (slightly rounder tops):
I plan to implement two modes for this when finished.
The first will be a toggle mode which allows me to do the obvious and allow me to turn effects on and off (I reckon I can hook it up to the Tonelab and use it to turn bits on and off). I'm also planning to implement a button mode to control a looper and maybe might also have a play/pause/record mode as well.
The other thing I'm trying really hard to do is get the software I wrote to make all this work "merged upstream" which means getting it accepted for inclusion into the library programs I used as a template for my work. Basically I found it pretty tough work to get the brain to talk to the computer. However if I can get the code added to a common library, it won't be nearly so tough for the next person (and he or she might be more creative then me)...
Anyhow a combination of easily acquired software and those great little boards I mentioned above means the electronics part of the project ends up a bit like Lego and can be fitted together without soldering and almost even without any programming.
I know I'm a little unusual in bouncing up and down in excitement over silly things like this (or so my wife tells me) but I've still had a lot of fun working on this project so far and I haven't even got it working yet.