Hack Plays Theremin Music the Infrared Way

[Photo: Pyroelectro]

If you own or have made a Theremin--a musical instrument from the 1920s that uses two sound and pitch antennae to make spooky sounds--its entertainment value can be quite limited. However, add some LEDs and an infrared sensor, and you are left with an instrument which has improved pitch depth and looks impressive with in the dark. Oh, and you can control it by waving your hand.

The IR Theremin exists mainly to see if the theremin could play base notes between the C4 and C5 octaves. It uses an infrared proximity sensor to detect how far away your hand is from the theremin, and it produces a different pitch depending on where you place your hand. For instance, to get a C4 note, your hand or object would need to be positioned 132cm away (the most distant) to get a 261.63Hz frequency. Each frequency is hard-coded into the system to be played by the sensor.

This DIY project requires a long list of parts, including a processor of information (PIC) and a distance sensor.

Check out the video of the IR Theremin playing a little song below, and see the full list of instructions on its website.

[Pyroelectro / Thanks, Chris!]

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