Pseudo Theremin

Hi Everyone

I just was interested in connecting Arduino and Max (

I hooked up two Sharp IR distance sensors and built myself something similar to a theremin.

Everything is super simple and basic, but the result is sort of fun, so I felt like posting it.

Edit --> some reverb:



actually thats a bug :smiley:

but I like it.

what happens is I record the signal from the sensor as an int. I then scale it up a bit to create a larger bandwidth of tones. This of course creates steps.
using a float would fix that… but hey. broken things often are the most fun.

(I have just discovered that I can load an endles chain of vst effects into Max. My room sounds like the soundtrack to a 60ies horror movie. I can get it to sound like a banjee or something :smiley: … I better stop before my neighbors call the police [or an exorcist])

Wow, that's great. That stepped effect sounds like you could brand this as an "Autotune Theremin"! Funky. Good work dude.

Nice work!

Your approach has some inherent advantages over theremins of yore. It is more compact, easier to build, and more repeatable and predictable than analog circuits that rely on the vagaries of stray capacitance.

A couple of other improvements suggest themselves:

1) Intentional auto-tune, either in hard steps, or a softer tendency to gravitate toward in-tune frequencies 2) Selectable audio waveforms, either by manual switch, or modulated by pitch/volume signals

Maybe we'll see one of these things in next year's Super Bowl half time show. This year's came off like an auto-tune extravaganza.

Strange that I saw this, as I was just experimenting with a theremin design earlier. I used the capacitive sensing code from here:

and added in a tone function, mapping 'fout' to a suitable audio frequncy. It didn't work. The original code is nice though, and I have modified it before for other projects.

How about a theremin on steroids that could be played with one hand?

Instead of sensing the distance of two hands separately, why not sense the distance and left-right position of one hand simultaneously. Distance could then control volume, while left-right controls pitch.

While we’re at it, a third sensor could add up-down to your hand position sensor. This could control another parameter like waveform (sin <-> sawtooth) or reverb.