Converting sound to light

Hi Firstly this year i need do to a end of year project in my sound course, i have been exploring several potential ideas and through my research i discovered arduino. I have no experience in electronics or this area, and firstly i need to understand what kind of capabilities arduino software and hardware.

So since sound and light are both expressed in frequencies i thought it would be a interesting project to have a literal sinestesia of sound or the other way round, since im in a arts course specializing in sound it could also be interesting translating famous paintings into sound. Now this raises a couple of issues since light is expressed in terahertz and sound being maximum in khz i would need to make a translation of these low frequencies into terahertz, so this would require a certain level of programming which honestly i dont have much experience in this area and i would first like some feedback if this would be possible.

Thanks in advance for your time

First, you might look at some existing sound-activated dance-lighting effects to give you an idea of what’s been done and what can be done. [u]Chauvet[/u] is a popular manufacturer of DJ lighting, and they have videos on their website.

I’ve built a few sound-activated effects over the years including a couple of recent ones built-around the Arduino. If you search a bit, you should be able to find some examples showing you how to detect sound with the Arduino, and how to control various types of lighting.

The effects I made are simply activated by the loudness/beat with various randomized color changes, or various sequencing “chase” effects.

But, you can also analyze the frequency using something called FFT (Fast Fourier Transform). There is something called a "spectrum analyzer. Using FFT, you can make a spectrum analyzer, which can be an interesting “effect”, or you can build something based on a spectrum analyzer.

since im in a arts course specializing in sound it could also be interesting translating famous paintings into sound.

The problem I see is that there is no time dimension to a painting.

You could probably do something with a video, but it couldn’t simply be a terahertz to Hz or kHz… I’m pretty sure that would just sound like noise… There are no harmonic pitch relationships to the image/colors and not necessarily any patterns that would correspond to rhythm or beat. You’d have to create some underlying “music” (or some kind of musical structure) and then modulate/change the music based on the changing image.

If you want to create music, your best bet would be to use MIDI. If you are not familiar with MIDI, it’s basically “sheet music for computers” where the computer plays synthesizers. Most background music in modern movies or TV is MIDI rather than using a real band/orchestra.

The idea isnt for it to sound like a music or the sound to make a amazing picture or video, the concept behind this is make a literal sinestesia..

The problem only is if I amplify the frequencies i would be losing that...

Ive encountered several problems with this idea I´m changing my mind a bit about it since my options dont seem that many since i dont have any qualifications in electronics or programming.

Thank you for your time though, and if anybody else has any ideas on this its still apreciated.

Ive encountered several problems with this idea I´m changing my mind a bit about it since my options dont seem that many since i dont have any qualifications in electronics or programming.

Yeah... I have no idea what a "sound course" is. I don't know if it's a technical course or a music course, or what... (I took a class in something like "The Physics of Music", but I don't remember the exact title. It was slightly technical, but not as technical or mathematical as normal physics class.)

To me, this does sound like an electronics/programming project.

Or it could be a 2-person project between an artist and an engineer.

And before you start, you'd need to know more-precisely what you are trying to do... For example, you should have a good idea of what kind of sound you want the Mona Lisa to make, or what kind of image you want to generate from the sound of a car driving by.

Then, you'd need to know if it's even possible. Then, you'd need to decide if the project is feasible and economical and if you can complete it in the time you have and with the resources you have.

The problem only is if I amplify the frequencies i would be losing that...

No, with a linear amplifier you just shift the input signal into one that you can manipulate, you loose no information.

This little board might help you with this project:- http://www.adafruit.com/product/1334

You probably want to bring the sound in using conventional analog to digital sampling of the signal, do analysis numerically (eg, fast fourier transform) and then control LEDs digital signals.

Here's a high-end example I published recently...

https://github.com/PaulStoffregen/OctoWS2811/blob/master/examples/SpectrumAnalyzer/SpectrumAnalyzer.ino