Sound-reactive Kinect tracking LED wall

Sammy Kamkar created an amazing sound reactive LED wall

This 4×4 wall has 1,728 addressable LEDs and tracks anyone in front of it via Kinect. Samy does smart background subtraction by creating a “depth window” in 3d space as the Kinect can provide me full depth data. The software is a combination of code he’s developed in OpenFrameworks, Syphon and Quartz Composer for sound reactivity. The panels are driven by a $19 micro-Teensy board using Direct Memory Access.

Symphony Hack Lab Light Cubes

Andrew Pelling and the pHacktory recently made beautiful light cubes as part of Hack the Symphony with the National Arts Centre Orchastra.

This video posted on Twitter shows the testing of the cubes prior to the performance.

Andrew used a MSGEQ7chip to turn incoming audio and break it down into seven frequency bands.  The data is sent to a Teensy 3.6 to control and assign colors to the LEDs lighting up the cubes.  The result was an art installation that translated orchestra sounds into colors – blues purples for bass frequencies with higher frequencies in red.  Each cube will also get brighter or dimmer depending on the volume level of the music.

This article gives a great overview of the project as well as instructions for building your own.  Addtionally, all the code is available on GitHub.

You can read more about the project and Andrew over on artsfile.



Twitter Taxi

Forum User digital11 outfitted a 1922 Checker Cab with Ws2811 LEDs that react to music that can be requested over Twitter.

Check out this video showing the LEDs in dancing action.

Some of the technical details ditigall11 provided on this project include:

5 Teensy’s running OctoWS2811 (Probably went a little overboard here, as I wanted the Teensy’s as close to the strips as possible, so I’m not using OctoWS2811 to its fullest, but I’m sure PJRC doesn’t mind :P)

Ableton Live/Max4Live/Jitter handling the music playing & video generation. Wrote a serial external for Max that basically generates a bytestream formatted for OctoWS2811 from a jit.matrix, so any video can be piped in realtime to the Teensy’s, with whatever fx/beat syncing is desired (Major props to nlecaude for the foundational work on this.)

Custom OSX app to monitor Twitter, queue up the requested songs, and update a tv display showing the song queue, available songs, and currently playing song.


Kids Keyboard for Controlling Media Center

Scott Penrose decided to make keyboard for his kids that would be rugged enough for them after having a few different wireless keyboards dropped and broken.

The current version is hardwired using an Teensy 2.0.  My original version used a 3.3V mega and Bluetooth module, and a nunchuck – it used gestures to control the TV. The plan was to build a bluetooth box for the kids with solar panel for charging. This updated version went with Teensy for simplicity (no battery, no charger, and mostly no Bluetooth reconnect issues).

Scot says what amazed him was how easy the whole project is.  He spent about an hour building the box and another hour writing the software, which can be found on GitHub.

Musical Skins

Maurent Donneaud made a fabric interface for music control.  The Musical Skins are a fabric interface that can be used to play music.  When the skins are draped over the body, interesting feedback modalities emerge.

This video demonstrates a skin in action.

The skins are made from conductive fabric.  Detailed construction information can be found here.  The code for the project can be found on GitHub.

The skins can be programmed to play different roles – a drum kit, a lead instrument, or harmonics.  Different instruments are available on GitHub.

C1 Chameleon Synth

Johan Bilén (forum user johanbilen) posted about his C1 Chameleon Project – a monophonic subtractive synthesizer.


It’s based around a Teensy 3.2 and an Audio Adaptor. The synth is controlled by two illuminated rotary encoders and data is displayed on a 0.96″ OLED.

This nifty little synthesizer has three oscillators with six waveforms, white noise generator, glide, resonant low-, band- and highpass filter, a mixer section, four LFO’s and four envelope generators and 100 preprogrammed presets. Each section (pitch, pulsewidth, filter frequency and amplifier) can be modulated by an envelope or an LFO.