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Minimal Light Thermin (Light to Sound Converter)

January 6th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Minimal Light to Sound

So a couple of months ago, James and I were playing with manipulating music and sound using light.  While doing this we stumbled on what seems to be the simplest light thermin.  The circuit has a total of 4 components; 150 Ohm resistor, 9 volt battery, a speaker, and is  mainly driven by the TSL230R Light to Frequency Converter made by Parallax Inc.

Parallax TSL230R

We got the circuit to work with speakers and various audio jacks.  All components were bought at our local Radio Shack for around 10 dollars.  This is a real simple project for people new or just interested in sound and light manipulation, and it only takes five to ten minutes to build.

Light to Sound Converter

Charles Martin made an awesome patch in Pure Data last year that analyzes an audio input and then uses pitch and amplitude information to output a midi control value.   This works great with the Light to Sound converter, and turns it into a cheap easy to build midi controller.  Check out the link below.


Light to Sound Converter from Mike Tron on Vimeo.


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  1. giuseppe
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:53 | #1

    I’ve a question…

    I’ve seen you convert the light to sound….

    do you have any idea how to convert the light to ultrasound frequencies (30 kHz)?


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