Midterm Project Idea – Thomas Tai

Thomas Tai
Lecture Professor: Marcela Godoy
Date: March 18th, 2018
Midterm Project Idea

After listening to the guests lectures on their projects, I was inspired to create something that would be unique and original. All their projects had one thing in common: they were a response to a need. For a project to be practical, it must have some use or purpose. Andy needed a cheap aqua farming system to grow mint for his mojitos. Eduardo bridged the gap between IOT technologies and personal creative applications. Andrea and Adele saw the amount of waste that Shanghai had, and found ways to reuse plastic. I had some ideas in mind such as:

1.) Multiplayer Game (ex. snake or pong) using physical controls such as joystick or buttons

2.) Using plants as a music interface

3.) Theremin with Processing and Arduino

Because I love music and playing music, I decided to have a go at making a digital theremin using processing and arduino. A theremin is notoriously difficult to play because it requires you to have perfect pitch, since there are no physical interactions between the user and the instrument. Every other instrument before the theremin needed a physical interaction to change pitch or intensity. With a theremin, there is no interaction except the music that comes out of the theremin. You cannot physically “feel” where a note or volume is supposed to be. The theremin sounds similar to the violin, as shown in this video.

A traditional theremin has two antennas which detect the player’s distance from the instrument. I will be substituting these antennas for ultrasonic sensors. I will then send these values as a string to Processing, where it will interpret these values as a type of not and play it. Each note will correspond to about 1 cm on my version of the theremin, since the distance is somewhat inaccurate from my testing. I plan on combining the theremin with a miniature piano to display the notes being played by the user. I have purchased 24 white LEDs on taobao, which I hope will arrive on time. If this is not possible, I will create a digital version of the piano keyboard to display the notes being pressed on the screen. Hopefully, the project will turn out as well as I plan it to be!

Planned Circuit Diagram:

One thought on “Midterm Project Idea – Thomas Tai

  1. Hi Thomas,

    great idea! one thing, the fact that you don’t touch something doesn’t mean that there is no physical interaction. The user needs to move his/her body and that is another way to interact.
    Are you still using plants?
    plants and music, reminded me this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FveyAkZBJs

    The other thing, if you need more pins for your LEDs there is a bigger arduino with more pins. You can borrow it in the Equipment Room, the name is Arduino Mega.

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