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Autonomous machine makes music with 7 lasers and 42 fans

Arduino TeamJune 27th, 2016

Russian artist ::vtol:: is no stranger to the Arduino blog. His latest project–which was designed for the Polytechnic Museum Moscow and Ars Electronica Linz–is an autonomous light-music installation called “Divider.” The wall-mounted soundscape consists of seven lasers that send rays horizontally through 42 PC cooling fans, acting as divider-modulators, to turn the light signals into rhythmic impulses. Seven photo sensors on the end monitor the presence or absence of light, while four Arduino Mega boards control the system.

The lasers serve a “independent binary variables” which become the basis for all sound composition. Since the fans can each spin at variable speeds, this allows for a constant shift of modulation phases and a wide range of noises.

According to ::vtol::, the Divider is inspired by Léon Theremin’s Rhythmicon, the world’s first rhythm machine. The 1931 device also used rotating discs to interrupt light rays and optical sensors to pick up light and produce rhythms.

Sound interesting? Wait until you see it perform below! You can also check it out here.