Hoping to start a project, could someone advise on the feasibility?

Okay, I've wanted to try something with an arduino for a long time but never had an idea that I felt was worth trying.

I was thinking of attempting to create a suit rigged with LEDs, which would light up according to a song. From looking at some posts from others that seems like a possibility. I suppose I should delve into specifics that may throw my plans. Since this is clearly to be worn out on halloween, it would need to be mobile somehow. Is it possible to output from a phone to the arduino? I would also need a powersource for the arduino itself unless it can take USB power. I would need to figure out a way to sync up the song with the preprogrammed lights.

Maybe I'm undertaking too much for a first project but I'm not sure. I'm not good at soldering, if that's necessary. But, I know a bit about programming. I understand the logic of how to get that part done, it'll just be finding the right code for the job that'll be the work there.

So, is this possible? and if so, what model should I be ordering?

Most Arduino boards can take power from USB. But there are those which don't. Have you looked at the hardware page?

How many LEDs?

Have you browsed in the LEDs and multiplexing subforum?

Have you defined how it is you want your LEDs to behave with respect to the audio?

I did take a look at the hardware page but it seemed daunting. After taking a closer look I think if any were to work it would be the Arduino ADK since it says it can interface with android phones. From what I can see on that page, I'll have 13 sets of pins to turn LEDs on and off. I think 13 sets of lights should be enough. If I wanted more that's what I would use the multiplexing for right? Can I use LEDs in a series to avoid the complexity of multiplexing?

With respect to how the LEDs behave with respect to the audio, I wanted to have a set of LEDs on whenever specific notes are being played. If I could get something to pull that right from the audio track that would be great. If not, I'm prepared to program something to play the lights separately from the song and do my best to sync.

I did see that that board can be powered through USB but I'm not sure if my phone can provide it. I'm just doing some terrible googleing trying to get an answer to that. I have an HTC incredible by the way.

The ADK? Not necessarily. What's your audio source? Are you thinking of processing the digital or analog signal? How finely are you wanting to divide the frequency spectrum? When you say 13 pins, are you thinking of a chromatic scale?

I don't think that LEDs in series helps you out. Maybe this thread does: Arduino Forum if you're thinking along the lines of a spectrum analyzer.

I was hoping to make my phone the audio source as well as the device to feed the arduino the data needed to play the lights. I guess now that I think about it, I would need more than 13 sets. I guess ideally, I would have a set for each instrument in the song. I don't think a spectrum analyzer would work for that. I think a better way to describe what I'd like to do it at least one light per tone per instrument. I guess I'm committing to programming that manually.

I think that probably gets rid of the digital vs analog right? I'm assuming that it would be sending out a digital signal to the arduino then.

Regarding the frequency spectrum, I guess I'll have to find the highest and lowest note on the song to figure that out. I'll take a look around for some kind of audio analyzer.

I appreciate you helping out a noob by the way.

Oh, I forgot to ask, why am I not necessarily tied to using the ADK?

edit: I accidently a word.

Sounds as if your audio source is a midi file. Otherwise, it's hard for me to imagine how you'd be separating out instruments.

If you plan on doing the LED control using a program on your phone, and then sending processing commands to the Arduino, that can happen over USB. Might be the ADK will make that very easy. That part of it, anyway, is beyond what I've messed with.

Everyone was a n00b at one point. I still am, in many ways. :slight_smile:

I was actually thinking I would have to write the light sequence file myself, which I guess would come out similar to a midi at least. Or maybe I can write it as a midi and have it interpreted by the program in the way I'm hoping.

Is that enough of a reccomendation to getting the ADK that I should buy it? I'd like to have as much time as possible working on it.

I don't know enough about the ADK to make a recommendation. I don't really understand your intended use either. You should try to more clearly state what you're trying to do.

For example, I asked whether your sound source was a MIDI file, and you responded that you could write your LED control as something resembling a MIDI file. You haven't even specified how many LEDS you're going to use, or how you want them to behave in response to your music. You might need to power your LEDs separately from your Arduino.

Of course, at some point, diving in and learning by doing is going to be instructive. I don't see a lot of ADK discussion going on on the forum, but then I'm not looking for it either, so I don't know whether folks are jumping on it. Maybe this search will help you find out about using the ADK.

You still here?

Couple things might be of interest.


Arduino Playground - Processing -- I haven't messed with this at all, but it sounds quite like what you're talking about, at least from the command and control end of things. Doesn't require the ADK board.

Also look at CmdMessenger.