Solenoid orchestra led a by laser conductor

This video brought a smile to our faces. [Griffin Milsap] is creating live music using an orchestra of solenoid instruments. Each solenoid is set up to strike an object such as a bowl or mug. The trigger mechanism is a light sensor inside of a ping-pong ball. The collection of instruments is conducted by a motor-mounted green laser. When the beam of light passes by one of the ping-pong balls the photo transistor inside actuates the solenoid and a note is played. The pitches are quite a bit more random than the Robo-vibe, but it’s delightful to hear the results that [Griffin] has achieved.

20 thoughts on “Solenoid orchestra led a by laser conductor

  1. I thought this was going to work with midi or something where the laser would turn off and on to each instrument and not the laser going back and forth
    *OH SHIT! MY EYES! I’M BLIND*

  2. Get yourself a set of gavanometers off ebay and do the laser scanning properly. Thats super dodgy. You can even possition the units outside the single axis your limited to atm. Perhaps even add blanking?

  3. There is an organ that works on the solenoid principle in Mammoth Cave, except it has a conventional keyboard and the stalactites were tuned by shaving them to get correct notes (something that would never be tolerated today). Also the vibrations are not very loud so each stalactite is equipped with a microphone and it’s amplified. Okay, I guess it’s not the same at all but it does use solenoids. And maybe an Arduino.

  4. Good stuff. Solenoid based physical/electronic music is really interesting, because you have that tangibility, but you can program things humans could never do.

  5. I wonder if there will be any big dance acts based on the solenoid principal, but with really sweet sounding instruments.

  6. Hey, thanks for all the comments! I had a pretty severe time and spending limit with the project, so I couldn’t do everything I wanted to (XY laser direction, cooler things to hit, etc.) The laser is from Wicked Lasers, a 20mW. Its a bit overkill, but I really wanted a sweet laser. Thanks for watching! Thanks hackaday for featuring me!

  7. Hey Griffin,

    Nice project, but dear, _please_ take yourselt up to date with laser security before you screw up your life.

    “…you can look at a laser twice…”

  8. It isn’t legal to buy a laser over 5 mila watt in America anymore so the website wicked lasers sells things that you can’t legally import.

    Does anyone know how to legally import them?

  9. It’s hard to sound all cool and hip while saying things like “safen up” but yeah, seriously.

    GOGGLES PEOPLE!!!!

    I really like it.
    Sure could use a little refining, what couldn’t?

    Nice work!

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