Project 1 is to create a working prototype for an interactive toy. I sat down and brainstormed for a while, looking at inspiration and talking to others. I decided to treat the term “toy” loosely and create an interaction designed for a specific user in mind: Me.
I find that during the school year, I tend to stress out and feel extremely overwhelmed with everything going on. Between work, school and homework I barely find time for myself, so when I do, all I want to do is relax at home. I often play music and just zone out for a bit, giving myself a break from everything else. Usually, I’ll play music and turn on the visualizer setting on iTunes, which is so relaxing I could probably watch it for hours. My apartment isn’t decorated much (me being a college student) and I’ve been wanting something interactive to show off, all the while being useful. A real-life take on a music visualizer will serve as a calming, visual piece that I can turn on when I’m in the mood to listen to music and relax.
My plan is to design a reactive light to respond to music input, where an LED strip will light up based on the frequency of the sound waves. As of right now, I plan on having the LEDs respond by color and brightness to the volume. If I am able to accomplish this, I will take this one step further and implement a way to add in different modes for the LEDs, or pick up sounds made by a person or speech, since the program can be updated even once the hardware is put together. I also think another neat aspect of this project is that it can be made portable, so that others can enjoy it too. I plan to use a sound detector to pick up the compressional waves, which will provide an analog input to the Arduino and in turn light up the LEDs. The code’s main purpose will be to take the analog value from the sensor (sound detector) and map it to the LEDs. I will need to take into account the volume levels read, which will allow for proportionality in the visuals throughout. The capacitor is not necessarily needed, but it might prevent damage in the future. The potentiometer can be used to control sound sensitivity or brightness depending on my exact design.
- RedBoard: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13975
- Sound Detector: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12642 or https://www.adafruit.com/product/1063 (this is recommended)
- Resistor 330 Ohm: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8377
- Electrolytic Decoupling Capacitors: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8982
- Breadboard: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12002
- Trimpot 10k with Knob: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9806
- Momentary Push Button: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9190
- LED Strip: https://www.amazon.com/ALITOVE-Individually-Addressable-Flexible-Waterproof/dp/B018X04ES2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1512748999&sr=8-3&keywords=ws2812b+led+strip+5v+300+pixel
- Jumper Wires: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11026
Useful resources I found that will help me get started: